Green Lake Shuffle

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Yellow Tree Green Lake  | ©2012 HouseofHank.me

Wheels to the right
Feet to the left
That’s the rhythm
That’s the song—
Gulls on the raft
Couples on the beach
Cormorants—
Outstretched wings drying
And dogs on the leash

Fitness is all
Runners walkers
Inline skaters
Bikers
Kids on scooters
Parents pushing three-wheeled strollers
running with babes
in a sling in front
or papoose like
strapped to their shoulders—
and staring frisky eyed around

While I like a street photographer
Walker Evans Stieglitz or Diane Arbus
become a watcher trying to get it all down
Here’s a split rail fence
wigeons whistling and feeding
on dried leaves and berries
Sunlit trees
Douglas fir cedar and willow
yellow green and rust colored
Doubled in the water like a drowned city

The Aegis van unloads its burden of wheelchairs
and walkers—as their owners
get a few minutes in Olmstead’s Eden
While in the tree above
the barefoot man who
teaches others to walk unshod
waits for his next pupil
And here’s a pair of walking buddies
bending together in earnest conversation
Across the wind-ruffled waters
sounds of a coxswain’s megaphone
Up close the crew reflects those
in a Thomas Eakins painting
muscles and the smooth glide
From a distance just another flock of water birds

I sit on a bench
Below is the plaque :
Verde que Te Quiero Verde
(Green I want you green)
A touch of Garcia Lorca here
as the eagle roosting
in a tree on the island opposite
searches amongst the fowl for his lunch

·     ·     ·

The List Poem

Whenever I walk at Green Lake, I think of the great Walt Whitman, of his poem, “I Hear America Singing”, of all the poems from “Leaves of Grass” and his vision of America as “multitudes” in motion. For that is what I see at the lake—the swarm of people flowing by, indulging in all sorts of activities and it has inspired the poem above.

There is another reason the list poem excites my interest. Years ago when I was “poet in residence” teaching poetry to grade school children (many of whom were “bussed in from underserved areas”), I used an assignment method to encourage them to write. One such commission was to take a notebook to the park across the street and make a list of what they found. They could think of themselves as a scientist, a reporter or just a curious child. To my delight, I received many good, some excellent poems as a result of our outing including the following offering from a “bussed in” fourth grader:

A Nature Report

Bugs are flying
Bees are gathering nectar
Air smells fresh
Water looks nice
People walking
playing
climbing trees
and talking
East rock in view

By Scientist Chris

www.marilynzuckermanpoet.com

PNA Swoosh

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4 thoughts on “Green Lake Shuffle

  1. Ah,nice poem Marilyn, taking it all in. Jim Scully described Whitman’s poetry as being those wide open spaces “where no one is diminished.” So ,too, here.

  2. Pingback: Green Lake Shuffle - Marilyn Zuckerman Marilyn Zuckerman

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