Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hunting the alligator

Perched on a ledge,
I watched from the edge
of the slow moving, brown river,
scanning for a telltale quiver,
a slight ripple of light
to prove his move —

unlike the heron, skinny-legged and lean,
stepping with care in open air, its hunger keen,
its glance oblique over a long, set beak,
pacing the lapping, salty water
stalking a single, silver slaughter —

no, all teeth and claws
this silent dragon was,
all scales and slinking,
periscoped, unblinking,
of terrible length and yet
imperceptible in the wet —

a sudden splash
belied his dash,
a trap, a trick,
unbelievably quick,
a fast snap and swish,
death for a school of fish.

Click on alligators to see larger versions. It's worth it!


Blogger robin andrea said...

Welcome home! Those photos are amazing. It must be quite a sight to see an alligator out and about like that. Thrilling and scary.

4/01/2007 4:20 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Yikes! I hope you took those photos with a zoom lens and weren't really as close as those teeth make you seem.

4/01/2007 5:56 PM  
Anonymous sage said...

must be Florida... yikes!


4/01/2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

"stalking a single, silver slaughter" !!! delightful! and you words are so lively. i truly enjoy your talent and your insights. not to mention these great photos! wow! exhilarating!

4/01/2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger Tall Girl said...

Where have you *been*?? Awesome creatures. Lovely internal rhyming. Very happy to see you back...

4/02/2007 2:23 AM  
Blogger Sky said...

just another reason i don't like florida! heat, humidity, flat land, and alligators! my sis lives in the golden isles of georgia, about an hour from the florida state line. an alligator has been known to swim in their community lake. the first clue always comes in the form of missing pets! :((

hope you had fun! gald you are back.

4/02/2007 2:50 AM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Prehistoric beasties.

4/02/2007 2:54 AM  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

Here there be dragons!

4/02/2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

your poem was fun, and the photos are incredible!!

4/02/2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...


4/02/2007 12:04 PM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Welcome home!!! This made me homesick. You got some pictures of some real big uns!!

4/02/2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Robin Andrea, thank you. Most thrilling was the time (not this year) when the alligator slid off the bank into the water and the trail of bubbles went through the black water and travelled under our canoe. Ack.

Pauline, yes, the last photo was courtesy of my brother-in-law's zoom lens. I've no desire to get that close physically, but love being able to see the details.

Sage, it was.

Snowsparkle, thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed!

TG, thanks for the welcome. Somehow that fellow seemed to bring out rhymes.

Sky, and I thought you were a southern gal! These dragons were far from civilization, fortunately, though I do understand they can roam. As most wild things do. It's when they don't have enough room that we seem to get ourselves into their trouble most, though.

zhoen, yes and preternatural nasties.

Marly, precisely! I knew you'd understand that.

Clare, thanks, and thanks for letting me know you dropped by.

Michelle, from a distance, all things may have a kind of beauty?

Pat, thanks! Yes, these were big. It's always hard to tell just how big, but there was no doubt — they were big. And toothy.

4/02/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Nice tight writing.And I like the 'gator, too. (We have crocs here)

4/02/2007 3:54 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Dinahmow, glad you enjoyed! There are crocs here, too, but only (I believe) in the southernmost Florida keys. I haven't ventured there... yet... who knows....

4/02/2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Professor Zero said...

Wow what amazing shots you got!

4/02/2007 6:02 PM  
Blogger Patrick M. Tracy said...


I hope you enjoyed your trip. The pics of the alligators are impressive. I've never been close to a crocodilian in the wild, though I've seen most sorts of them at animal parks here and there. I imagine that seeing them with no fences is a different experience.

I liked the "no feeding or molesting the alligators" part on the sign. I suppose that one could lead to the other.

4/02/2007 7:32 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Professor Z, thanks for stopping by. I'm slowly catching up on my reading, and looking forward to getting back to your translation.

Patrick, I did enjoy our trip, thanks. I think I'd rather see alligators in the wild, though only from a good distance. Your take on the sign made me chuckle — molesting an alligator is a scary proposition, indeed!

4/02/2007 7:46 PM  
Blogger moira said...

Welcome back; wonderful to see vacation posts.

4/02/2007 8:28 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Moira, wonderful to see you!

4/03/2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger polona said...

oh, WOW!
love the poem and these photos are awsome!

4/03/2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger leslee said...

Yikes is right! Glad to see that you weren't that close on the bottom one. Nice shot, though. Welcome back!

4/03/2007 5:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Hope you don't mind if I avoid molesting an alligator! I am surprised you need a law against that!

I think there is a child's poem about a crocodile going to the dentist is there not. I will have to have a look. Happy Birthday, all the best people are born in April.

4/04/2007 10:16 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Polona, thank you so much!

Leslee, nope, not too close. Thanks for the welcome!

Robert, welcome. Yes, indeed, Roald Dahl a delicious piece about the dentist:
The crocodile, with cunning smile, sat in the dentist's chair.
He said, "Right here and everywhere my teeth require repair."
The dentist's face was turning white. He quivered, quaked and shook.
He muttered, "I suppose I'm going to have to take a look."
"I want you," Crocodile declared, "to do the back ones first...

4/04/2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger Gypsy Purple said...

Have a great and blessed

4/05/2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Wonderful poem. I spend the winter months of January through May in SW Florida and 'gators are the norm here.

4/06/2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger MB said...

gypsy purple, thank you for that good wish!

msw, you'd be in the zone where they're everywhere, then! Glad you enjoyed.

4/27/2007 9:03 PM  

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