Today's poem is by Stuart Friebert

Water Walking Stick

—on reading that Darwin's beloved
  daughter had just died.

Looking for all the world like a dried twig,
it climbs among the weeds along pond margins
so perfectly camouflaged it has few enemies.

Watching it, ideas he once had that were fat
grow lean, while the insect petrifies, waiting
for him to make the first move. It has been two

hours of locked-in, mutual silence by his watch,
when the stick seems to twitch a bit, or at least
the lily pad underfoot takes on an extra drop of

water that pools around it. Normally he can't
keep still in any place, wanders around restless,
sometimes quite unhappy, his tongue lisping

inanities; at other times so beaten by sticks
he runs for a cliff and jumps off. Into a river
dream, or he wouldn't be crouching down now to

see if his eyes can make out its eyes. There!
There! Little black pin cushions at the bends
in, what, its legs? With every blink he sinks

deeper into the dark well of something other,
which will come to grief in its own way, though
the rest of us, he hoped, would try to be happy.

Copyright © 2005 Stuart Friebert All rights reserved
from New Letters
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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