April 12, 2016

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Poetry Postcard 15

Remember on Friday I complained that -- nearly midway through the 44 Postcard Poem project -- I was hitting my wall? Today, I am sharing brick # 1.

The poems are getting a little weird and trippy.

I spent the better part of an hour researching pelicans. I learned about gular sacs and how pelicans swish their food around in order to swallow prey head first. And that pelicans have ten foot wingspans and are heavy, up to 30 pounds, but are still great fliers if they catch a good wind.
And this is what my tired brain came up with:

Bird Song

Pelican, pelican, pelican pie --
your hinged ladle mouth,
your marble blue eye
always alert for
a fish swimming by --
pelican, pelican, pelican pie.

by Laura Shovan

(Note: No actual pelicans were eaten or placed in pies for the making of this poem. "Pelican pie" is a term of endearment, according to the author, who claims to be fond of pelicans.)

Honestly, as there are three pelicans in the photograph on this postcard, I had the phrase "pelican, pelican, pelican" in my head. The rhythm was attractive, but silly. I just kept going from there.

Postcard Information:

Pelicans in Tropical Florida
Photo: John Hinde Curteich Inc. ©

View the postcard at this vintage postcard site.

I sent the poem off to a very forgiving friend who is also one of my favorite native Floridians. If I ever revise it, perhaps I will add this poem to my series of bird odes, which already includes poems honoring an owl and a hawk.

Other interesting facts about this card -- it is one of a handful in the project that were actually used and mailed. This one was sent to a bookstore in Alabama. (Must be on of the cards Irene Latham donated. Thanks, Irene!)

On it, the writer says: 

“Dear Reed Books:

Pls quote fee for
locating and mailing to

Doug Boyd: Swami
(Random House, 1970)

Thank you!"
The card was cancelled in 1986.
My poem is making Sinclair Lewis very grumpy.

If you are interested in spirituality and 1960s/early 70s pop-culture, you might take a moment to look up Swami.


Linda B said...

The first time I saw pelicans was when I went to Mexico a long time ago, & here flew that long phalanx of birds coasting in about a yard from the water. I was in love. Your poem reminds me of something we would play at the edge of the waves, hopping up & down, & in & out of the water to that same rhythm, da da duh da da, duh da da da da, etc. It captures them in all military garb! The sketches are great, aren't they? Keep going...

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Linda. They are such a neat bird. I also learned that they sort of squish the water out of their neck pouches before they swallow prey and will drown and eat a seagull if they're really hungry. Yikes. I appreciate the thumbs up on the poem. said...

That's so fun and what a coincidence I've got a pelican poem on my blog tody too :)