Finding the Words

At the edge of a clearing, the young
stand together. “Heron,” one begins.
A reed nods and raises its great wings,
wheeling. “Kingfisher,” another insists,
and a blue flash dives and splashes, lifts
with a thrash of fish. “Cygnet,” one adds,
and a gray fluff of swanling waddles
out of the weeds.

One utters “willow”: silver-green branches
lean into their mirror. At “otter,”
a lump of mud becomes a face then a body,
well-limbed for its nimble swim.
With “newt,” a salamander scuttles
into the water.

When a boy whispers “bramble”
berry vines tangle at his feet,
an adder muscles through thorns.
“Weasel,” another pronounces:
a ferret moves like a trick of light
through the ivy. “Goldfinch,”
one proposes, so a sunny blur falls,
skimming cattails and thistle. “Lark,”
a girl declares, and one pours a song
over the bluebells.

And now creatures gather
unbidden among the new branches
as the young speak our world
back to existence, finding the words
to save us.

– Poem by Caroline Collins

Caroline Collins teaches college-level composition, creative writing, and American literature in the USA. Her poems have recently appeared in Bangor Literary Journal, Ekphrastic Review, FourByFour, The Green Light, Lindenwood Review, and Parousia. Her poetry collection Presences was published by Parallel Press in 2014.