Judith Waller Carroll

Freedom from the Mundane
To be free as a bird is everyone's wish, but even the yellow-throated warbler has to gather hair and bark strips, weave them into a nest, funnelfood into waiting beaks.
Bills have to be paid, the breakfastdishes washed and put away,but when you least expect it,a small part of your soul flies to a low branch of the azaleaand sings, Sweet, Sweet, Sweet. Seventy Five I have reached the agewhere nothing should surprise me,but something always does:a tiny purple crocus amid winter’s brown,the wild beauty of swans. Birds fly in and out of trees, each oneeerily familiar, as if everyone I’ve lostthrough death or heartbreakhas come back as a sparrow or swallow,the egret striking a pose on the pier. A fluffed-feathered robin pausesbeside me, and I feel my mother’s spiritwhispering the names I’ve forgotten,remembering them by their songs. Walking at Daybreak A pale yellow light edges the sky, and shadowsstart to take their daytime shapes: star jasmine twining along the streamthat gurgles over rocks and low branches, the heron’s long neck pointed like a compass needleas he wings to a far tree. Night’s dark demons finally cease their chatteras I breathe in, breathe out. An aura of red rises from the lake, tinting a zigzagof clouds and contrail. Judith Waller Carroll is the author of What You Saw and Still Remember, a runner-up for the 2017 Main Street Rag Poetry Award, The Consolation of Roses, winner of the 2015 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Prize, and Walking in Early September (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, published in numerous journals and anthologies, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.