The Generous Marsh of Me

by | Jan 22, 2020 | Poetry

Let me be acres of high grass
absorbing the May swamp
in a cattail way, redwings
landing in the generous marsh of me.

Let small birds make a breeze
a foot or two above me, fluttering
across my chest, or even landing there.
They seem light as moths, and their claws
don’t hurt when they squeeze
the reeds of me, clinging in wind.

I’ll be the dank host the heron
steps across. He lifts his slow, bony legs
and his feet skim the lily pads

atop the muck of my left shoulder,
my right knee. It tickles, though pieces of me
drift, dissolve and sink. I shred.

The heron moves in a cautious,
weary way, monkish, bluish prophet,
his neck a holy rope, coiled—till it
springs the beak that flashes.

The indifferent carp are deadly slow.
Pay attention, fish. A plodding bird-bulk
looms, a hairy spy with a lightning blade.

I’m the mud witness, and this is where I lie,
a congregation of one in the hall of mayhem,
dark water, where herons slaughter fish
among green reeds that lightly sway.


Photo used under CC.

About The Author


John Hazard grew up in the southeastern Ohio town of Caldwell and now lives in Birmingham, Michigan. He has taught at the University of Memphis and, more recently, at the Cranbrook Schools and Oakland University in suburban Detroit. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared widely in magazines, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Shenandoah, Slate, The Gettysburg Review, Ascent, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Harpur Palate, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His 2015 book of poetry is Naming a Stranger (Aldrich Press).