Morning draws long shadows
across the water. I can already smell coffee
and bacon. My kids are asleep
in their warming tent, not yet bored
or unhappy. My boyfriend snores in the camper,
not yet drunk. Some kind of dragon-
fly skippers across the glassy lake.
Summer's mirror. And who's
the most beautiful today? Cloud
in her usual blue robes, or Heron
stepping long-legged from her
limousine of reeds. Suddenly
the air is filled with flash. Trout
has arrived with her following of minnow
and the early fishers flip their lures
and tippets into the air. It will be a grand
show today. In preparation, a butler wind
unrolls its velvet tongue.
This gives a fresh, vivid feeling of early morning by the lake, almost as good as being there! I love the heron stepping from "her/ limousine of reeds", and the humour and contrasts in the early lines. I'm not sure about the title, which suggests the end rather than the beginning of the show, and which establishes the metaphor perhaps too early in the poem. You might have another look at the lineation: it seems a bit broken-up and I wonder if you might try to have lines that follow the sense more, keeping "And who's the most beautiful today?" on one line, for instance. You could try longer lines, such a "Morning draws long shadows across the water" - that might reflect the wide landscape you are in. I wonder about the mixed metaphor, "butler" and "tongue", in the last two lines, though the lines do give a feeling of grandness and expectation. A delightful poem.
Jane Duran, March 2006
The Guardian Poetry Workshop Shortlist