Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Poetry: Sentinels

geese on the shore




















Thanksgiving eve
a family of Canadas
split off from
the migrating flock
and set down on our swath of rye and clover
poking through a dusting of snow. Six birds
the parental pair, ever alert, necks
craning as far as they could stretch and
their four fast-growing chicks embarked
on their first long flight.

My guess is they were giving the
near-yearlings a breather to rest and eat,
that they knew the spot, here this Summer past
with a group of adult Canadas and
a gaggle of newborn fluffballs.
This visit saw them edge onshore with a
practiced precision, youngsters flanked
on either side by a wary parent, watchful

And I shared their concern – a pair of
red foxes had taken to patrolling our lakeshore
in the late afternoons and a pair of coyotes
had been yowling nearby the evening before.
Luck or proper planning, the Canadas had chosen a
propitious time – no predators; a would-be
photographer knowing his place; and key, a
large slick of open water in our small bay,
perfect flyway for the family to depart on
their journey.

Which they did within the hour, making their way
gingerly to the beach, slowly slipping into the water
and then off, wingtips seeming to touch. Shimmer,
the cat, and I saw them off, bidding them a safe
voyage, trusting we’d see them again in the new year,
harbingers, they and our robins, of Spring, green fields
and new life.


Photo at top provided by Jack Carney.

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Jack Carney is a clinical social worker who retired after fifty years of practice, nearly forty of which spent working in the public mental health system. He received his MSW from UCLA in 1969 and his DSW from CUNY in 1991. He is also a trained family therapist, trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and has devoted a good part of his professional life to teaching and training mental health professionals, to developing and implementing innovative treatment approaches and programs, and to conducting clinical practice research. He retired in 2010 from a large New York social welfare agency. He now lives with his wife and their two cats in the Adirondacks of northern NY State, where he spends much of his time writing provocative tracts and working as a community and healthcare advocate, heavily involved in the Campaign for NY Health and the enactment of single payer healthcare on a statewide – the NY Health Act – and national – Medicare for All – basis. He is the author of a book of essays – Nation of Killers: Guns, Violence, White Supremacy – The American Dream Become Delusion, published in 2015 and available via Amazon. He has also published over 40 blog posts on Mad In America and Op-Ed News, all concerned with the political deterioration of the American state and its institutions and the measures that ordinary Americans can take to oppose an oppressive corporatist ruling class that is squeezing the life and vibrancy out of us. A nearly complete listing of all his writings – a work in progress – can be found on his website, www.paddling

2 Responses

  1. lovely story of the geese in their migration–

  2. Joe Carosella says:

    I like it, Jack. Thank you for your poetic musings.
    Joe Carosella

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