Birds On Discovery Island


poems by

Marjorie Power

Poetry chapbook, 42 pages, $7 cover price

ISBN: 978-1-93090-769-0

Released: 2004

This title is part of the MSR Editor’s Choice Chapbook Series after being selected for publication as a result of finishing as a runner up in the 2004 MSR Chapbook Contest.

Marjorie Power lives with her husband near Cape Perpetua on the central Oregon coast. She is the author of three previous poetry chapbooks, the most recent being Faith In The Color Turquoise from Pudding House Publications, and one full length collection. Her poems have appeared in publications such as The Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, Pontoon, The Practice of Peace, The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, The Seattle Review, and Zone 3.


A woman might have a cedar
rooted in her soul; a man, a fir.
In hers a hemlock may spread; in his,

a pine. And when she gives birth?
This much is certain: the child appears
deciduous. Aspen-like, for instance.

The parents delight in white bark
and leaves whose quivering disarms.
The house fills with gold once a year

till one fall a leafless silence comes,
followed by phone calls from someone
loving the cold.


Let’s say you receive these:
a rowboat, oars, a small lake,
a gray afternoon
with a slight wind.
Say you step into the boat

and row slowly
to where the fish are
down deep, sleeping.
You row to stay
in the same place.

If the lake had a monster to offer,
if the tidy red cottage were yours,
if you had dressed for
the increasing chill….
A whole day’s firs

close in.
Green surrenders
to black. You go home
without a storm, still hoping
to find its eye.

As Petals Come Undone

Her thin voice scrapes the sky,
her pronouncements rain down
like sleet…this neighbor
hasn’t spoken to me for months.
She tells others I’m gone.

If three women
invite a fourth to their table,
then the newcomer
must function as a wall—
mirrored, and without a window.

A cloud of pink blossoms
hangs between her house and mine.
As petals come undone
an emptiness creeps in
that new leaves cannot fill.

On this icy day, my friend
who lives to see her gardens bloom
would have me believe
that my rude neighbor, deep down,
is probably a rose.

Her silence. My silence.
A tatter flapping in wet wind.
Jellyfish blue,
it’s made of thin plastic,
a sack that once held the latest news.

Here’s how she’d resolve
our argument: we’d grow our hair,
braid hers with mine.
We’d live as vines entangled
in a hothouse, on a high shelf.

To confide in her was wrong.
She wields a sunbeam
like a surgeon’s knife.
Sometimes what shadows the heart
keeps the heart’s soil moist and rich.

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