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Why Gators are Hard to Know

It is hard to know where the bank of the marsh stops
and the rising, rhythmed scales begin to tell their old
story -
plated, blackened, soaked in yesterday's rotted and
pungent growth,
kissed by minnows, and serenaded by dragonflies
while a timid winter sun beckons the mud to shine
where tomorrow's pursed leather grows dull.

Hard to know when movement and stillness appear
the same or different, once shadow
then transparent impression gone
just as quickly before it was even noticed near the
soldiered Cypress,
ankles and knees half in and half out of liquid black -
here for a moment, then departed into splintered

Hard to know where the bottom of emerald midnight
quiets and stills into patches of illusion, shadow and
where clouds of bubbles surface from the prowl of a
green submarine
feathery and tangled flora turns and pliates in
watery ballet
then merges and plays in deep rhapsody to breezes
fallen into deep slumber
while it waits for everything with forever's patience.

It is hard to know for all the creatures
the brothers and sisters of the muck and their hiding
the mirrored and the knobby point,
the shallows and reeds,
leafless branches stretching to places where wet
bodies warm in the sun,
toads who gurgle and croak in the rain,
buttery Tilapias that fan their springs nests of hope,
clans of Ibis, snaky Anhinga and mossy turtle -

When they will take their last breath while their
tomorrow vanishes
into the steel trap of no remorse, slash of tail, and full

About this poem

This was written after I went to my first poetry workshop in DelRay Beach, Florida. After I returned home I wanted to write a poem to commemorate the workshop experience, to see if I had in fact learned something, and what better topic to write about in Florida than the iconic Alligator? Why are Gators hard to know? Because they are so illusive and mysterious! And mainly I discovered that the gator is such an integral part of its environment, how do you even separate the two? If you want to talk about a gator, you can't do that without talking about the swamp, and the Cypress, an the dark, black waters, etc.  

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Written on 2010

Submitted by spiritu700 on July 31, 2022

Modified by spiritu700

1:28 min read

Robbin T. Hartridge

Robbin is a retired landscape architect and enjoys writing when the inspiration arrives! more…

All Robbin T. Hartridge poems | Robbin T. Hartridge Books

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