Week of Bird Poetry: #1: With Holm in Hofsos by Bruce Noll

With Holm in Hofsos

We were in a little village
on the north coast of Iceland
when Bill, who lived there
part of each year, invited me
for a ride in his old Chevrolet.
“I want you to see
a place I go when I need
to get away,” he said.
Odd, I thought, already we were
on the edge of the Arctic Sea.

In a mile or two he turned off
the narrow road onto an open flat
on the edge of the fiord.

“Now, when we get out, move
slow and be careful to follow me.
Watch where you step . . . ”

Terns flew up by the score,
hovering a few yards above nests,
like marker flags above the rough.

“Don’t get to close, came the
warning, their beaks are sharp
and their determination quick.”

The simplicity of place
is, as it should be,
a guarded space.

Bruce Noll
(For Bill Holm…1943-2009)

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