The great blue
song of the earth
is sung in all
the best venues—
treetop, marsh,
desert, shore—
and on this spring
day in the wetlands
where, under
a late sun,
we stand alone
and in love
with each other
and the passing day
we watch a cormorant
whose eye is ringed
in blue diamonds,
a shimmering lure,
and we love this blue
and this dark bird
and this deepening sky
that pinks and hums
in the west, and then

the bird opens his beak
and flutters his throat
and the late
afternoon light
the inside tissue
of his mouth
which is as blue
as his ocular jewelry,
as blue as the bluest
ocean, as blue
as the sky in all
its depth, as blue
as the back of the small
and determined beetle
who struggles to roll
his enormous dung ball
in his own breeding bid
to enchant another
small blue miracle.


Copyright © 2016 by Sidney Wade. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“We were walking on a lovely evening at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, and I watched a nearby Double-crested Cormorant through my binoculars, admiring his double crests, for which he is named, and which one never sees outside of breeding season. At one point he opened his beak in order to thermo-regulate, and the evening light was slanted just enough to illuminate the inside of his mouth, which was blue!”
—Sidney Wade