Pelicans Appear

 Pelicans Appear

The three of us walk
the secluded beach in Manzanilla,
breaking our U.S. routines
of coffee and work and dinner and email and TV
for this trusting blue sky
that just last night held millions of stars
whose constellations
we guessed at from the rooftop;
clinking margaritas,
the smell of lime in the air,
this crashing ocean is so loud
we have to shout to hear one another,
and then mid-sentence we grow quiet
as a group of pelicans appear,
riding the top of the long waves,
wings beating a slow rhythm,
the air their highway, their trail,
as they rise slightly, then dip, their bellies
barely above the crest. They pass without
acknowledging us, as they should,
in their business of flying, and yet for us,
they are all we know in this moment.

Yvonne Higgins Leach
Another Autumn

Pelicans AppearYvonne
Higgins Leach


what it means

A group of Americans on vacation in Mexico stop talking to notice a flock of pelicans.

We can be arrested by beauty.  We should let ourselves be arrested by beauty.

The natural world does not need us, but we need it.

why I like it

This poem reminds me of Mary Oliver, a poet who acknowledges the sanctity of the natural world, but with a light touch.  I feel like I am in this moment with the speaker and am given the opportunity to also put aside business, margueritas and loud conversations where we try to out talk the natural world and instead let myself be silenced by it.


Did you notice it's just one sentence?  I felt the push of it first, how the images kept coming and then I went back figured out how she did it.

I also like the parallel between their business talk at the beginning and the pelican's business at the end.

 I really like the line "barely above the crest. They pass without" how it creates a meaning different then the sentences the phrases came from.  "To pass without," it is a transcendent moment.