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Friday, October 6, 2017

Living the poem

For some time I’ve been reviewing poetry books by other poets on this blog, but with several of my own poetry books now in print, I hope to post poems from each book with a word about what went into their making. That’s the kind of thing poets often ask about at writing conferences or readers want to know at poetry readings. Happily, this little site on the Internet gives us an opportunity to meet together and chat about poems.

Starting with my first poetry book in print, Living in the Nature Poem published in 2012 by Hiraeth Press, the following poem came about as I tried to find a way to accept – and perhaps even appreciate – the conflicts found in nature. Although I love the wildlife surrounding me in my woodsy Florida home on a small lake, this doesn’t always display the pretty little picture, which I prefer. Thinking about that coaxed this poem into being:

Tribulations of a Playful Poet

The alligator owns all rights
to the lily pads,
gliding by, right when I'm writing
about beauty,
about serenity.

If I were to wade into the waters
around a dry bouquet
of cattails,
the head of the alligator
would bloom beside me.

Where can I hide
from this presence?

How can my poems evade
the hidden claws,
the baffling jaw
eager to emerge?

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2012, from the poetry book published by Hiraeth Press Living in the Nature Poem

This morning while I was still considering whether to begin this new phase on the Poetry Editor & Poetry blog, I took my coffee onto our deck and saw what we occasionally glimpse, moving about beneath the water but, in 15 years, had never fully seen on our lake until “a sign” arose today! Thankfully, my camera has a zoom lens for taking this picture:

photo by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017


  1. I remember an alligator sunning itself on a ski jump in the lake where I was water-skiing. I think I will try to stay out of the waters of Florida! Lovely poem, though.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. For every lake in Florida, an alligator is likely. :)