The Party at the Pond

Observations and photos from Laurelhurst Park, meant to be read aloud



Everyday at just past dusk I bundle up to peek the ducks.

The days are splaying slightly longer, lighting stronger, the blossoms taunt us as pollen drops dust,

I stop to watch

at a tree

and prop my bag

by the leaves. Freezing and breezy,

the sun withholds her rays, ya know the old saying says: early bird catches the - but

I’ve learned the hatching chatters,

discerned the snatching patterns

Observed these birds are just as active

in the late afternoon when the air’s still wet and groggy, foggy and I’m probably

the only one bored enough to witness this cacophony

even though this brisk cold is generally not for me.

Anyway, it’s late May with a looming view to June,

Most days it’s rainy gloom, but the sun should pop out soon

And like I said the days are getting longer

the leaves sway, the birds swoon and ducks wander

to the edge of the bank for the party at the pool.



Having done fine that day,

displayed the self described “fun time” and “kids play”

stalking and mocking and slaying his prey,

the hawk retires to his perch,

plopped atop the spired pine,

biding his time, trying to unwind, he nurtures his finds.

Cooper stoops, lurches forward to catch a view, to check his spewed loot won from days grind.

Rustled feathers, muscle fragments of tussled lessers litter the floor,

the bones and scraps of eaten meals, he steals a glance to the distant shore,

ignores the noise, nestled and poised, he enjoys the festivity from afar.



Strumming her words, buzzing unheard, Anna the hummingbird keeps to herself,

pleased with the felty abundance of wealth, the healthy introvert exploring her earth

skirts and chirps, each flower showers her beak with streaks of yellow heaps of powder,

hour after hour she scours, squeaks and flutters, leaps and buzzes.

Her peace and jubilation

now allow her to resist this new temptation

Of powering through the festooned celebration.




The swifts emboldened by their name, fifty, sixty bolt through the rain,

Lift and wane, making moves and faking swoons,

setting the mood, swooping across the still hidden moon


Lapsing naps, nightly caps, chasing laughs and perhaps their dreams,

heart on their sleeve, head where they lean

Meeting and speeding above the pond they pursue.

It’s quite the rendezvous,

Debauchery to ensue, but - like the rest of us - this crew has nothing to lose

except the fading light,

and waning time,

and our remaining minds,

but they make the best of their plight less they regret the night,

chirping and slurping the still air

through the darkening scene where

they dart and careen.



And just past eight, right on cue, a Canada Goose swoops on through

like he owns the place,

since his only state

is selfish indifference - His home is where he makes it and lives in,

no regard for whose land it’s initially been. With no intuition,

the ugly mister smugly whisks in, frisky

and fast passed the ducks’ graceless faces.

Busting in with his fucking grin, bucking his wings, fancies himself king,

hissing and pissing off everything in his

wingspan,

flings and

thinks he can

prance about the floor and score a dance, what a self-absorbed nuisance.


Electing to suck and fuck everything up,

the crows chose enemies only and

blow smoke into the flow of the whole process, I suppose and suspect

from their perspective

there’s no respecting those

sitting ducks, ribbing schmucks, or swooping fucks

so they live to disrupt with ruckus enthusiasm,

bridging the chasm in thousands, grouping and shouting,

mounting attacks, showering owls with bouts of smack, starting rows and

marking territory, stripping the glory from the Bairds and the Screeches,

they scatter and chatter, creeping for no apparent reason except it’s the season for leaving no bird, or human for that matter, in peaceful seating.


And of course the wood duck,

no source of good luck,

the tour de force floats alone in the muck, without a home and no friends of his own.

Stony expression,

his lonely progression

only gets him

bullied rejection. He tags along with the mallards, but those useless bastards protect their own pals and leave out the travelers. But wait! Despite the nightly hawk sighting,

a rustling in the sticks and bustling in the thicket.

In the thick of it, the wood ducks have risked it, the Misses is sitting on a little pile of riches, stacks of cracked eggs lacking the innards are littered, the itty ducklings suckling and waddling and tottering are waiting patiently for dinner!



And finally, the hosts of the pond party, they boast of the pond fondly

the Mallards, paddle gently, babble relentlessly, butts up and head under,

plundering unknown wonders, these dummies gather to discuss useless matters.

Pattering in twos and threes, scattering the news and shooting some incoherent breeze

Picking fights or just harmless teasing, wheezing on whatever inedible bites they’ve eaten

Coughing and bleating, then repeating the same idiotic feasting.


It’s an action packed bacchanalia!

Factions of bird interaction available.

Come exactly as you are now,

there’ll be vastly more to see tomorrow.



- By Emily Menges