back ~ home ~ up ~ next


The Cormorants


Black and sleek as steely-eyed

deacons, ascetic and aloof,

the cormorants

disdain the jostling waves, riding

peaks and troughs, placid as flatirons.

One suddenly

upends and disappears a full

minute or more, some fifty yards

away emerging.

Preying and gorging, they float fastidious,

always unruffled, unperturbed

by appetite.


Though half-submerged they do aspire.

Persuaded finally into flight

they gather speed

and skip tiptoe on wave tips like

flat stones flung side-arm from the shore,

wings flailing.

Full bellies when they would be light

belie the anorexic pose,

rob them of grace.

With difficulty they enter heaven,

rise and take dominion, running



Jan Schreiber



2000; originally printed in Pivot.  Reprinted
by permission of the author.

Table background by
Logical Imageworks

Page background by

back ~ home ~ up ~ next