The Cormorant in Its Element

Written by Amy Clampitt

That bony potbellied arrow, wing-pumping along

implacably, with a ramrod's rigid adherence,

airborne, to the horizontal, discloses talelnts

one would have never guessed at.  Plummeting

waterward, big black feet splayed for a landing

gear, slim head turning and turning, vermilion-

striped, this way and that, with a lightning glance

over the shoulder, the cormorant astounding-

ly, in one sleek involuted arabesque, a vertical

turn on a dime, goes into that inimitable


deep act which unlike the works of Homo Houdini,

is performed for reasons that nothing at all

to do with ego, guilt, ambition or even money.

Amy Clampitt, in The Norton anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition, p.1011

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