Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Morning in the Everglades

Greetings, readers!

I have surfaced for a few days from my artist-in-residency in Everglades National Park...and will be heading soon to the Baja for a Lindblad expedition to see the gray whales in their nursing lagoons.

The Everglades residency experience was eye-opening in so many ways...through writing and editing poetry, a poetry reading, photography, botanizing, hiking, biking -- being. It will stay with me forever. That is the nature of the Everglades.
Among my accomplishments was a collection of 19 "cameos" -- miniature portraits of people in Everglades history dating from the 1500s to the present. Each one is 100 syllables long (or 200 if a double cameo) and is based on historical fact presented with mythic embellishments. The research for the poems was almost as fun doing as the poems themselves. So I will leave you with one in the series...about Guy Bradley, the future park's first game warden, one who was murdered by plume hunters at the beginning of the 20th century.
See you next time with tales and whales' tails from the Baja.
1905, Guy Bradley Cameo: Dead or Alive?

To St. Bradley,
patron of subtropical birds,
our latter-day Assisi,
our Everglades martyr
to its causes, I pray.

How unceremoniously they took aim
and shot you, those greedy hunters,
those ravaging devils, that plague
of egrets great and snowy,
of hierophantic great blue herons, too.
Those killers in the rookeries
are dead. But you live on
among the glossy ibis,
a feather spirit, listening.