Lavinia Kumar – Four Poems


Upon the Pelican

See that symphony,
the large bill toss fish in the air
soft pouch waving

over warm aqua sea
small cloud-tufts above
the seagull ready on his head

to steal. We knew
it would happen.
It is often the ending

when being alone
is not enough.

Birds Fly

The starlings line along the wire,
message a storm, mimic
small children lining up
at the school door, chattering,
worried they might not
be able to read their name,

as my neighbor looks at me
from his wheelchair, pushed
on the path by a nurse. Perhaps
he wonders whether my greeting
is meaningless because I speak English
not Persian. But his mind is far gone,
along with his body now in diapers.
He watches old movies all day,
and does not recall he left Iran.
Here, he cannot heal himself
or remember the many patients
who came to him for comfort,
for confidential treatment after
secret police encounters. It’s all gone.

Watch now the wind whirl,
catch his eye, his soft white hair.
The birds scatter from the line,
fly in fluent disorder.

Spring at the Shore

quotes from The Sea Spirit by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Early morning shrimp boats leave
for long miles at sea,
lower side-booms at river mouth.

And the little waves laugh and the mermaids sing,
And the sea is a beautiful, sinuous thing!

Redwings sway on an eastern breeze
near the top of phragmites reeds
on the inlet rocky bulkhead.
Robins arrive,
hide their nursery in hedges. Except
for the annual nest by our front door –
four hopeful aqua eggs to sit,
until each year a raid,
perhaps by a blue jay.

Beach plums, cherries, magnolias
in turn blossom pink,
before red or green leaves flourish.
Owners slip boats from trailers
tie them up at docks, check fishing gear,
catch-up chat with neighbors.

A mallard duck lays her twelve-egg clutch
under our hydrangea bush,
covers them with leaves and down
when she seeks her food.
Mockingbirds sing louder and longer
than robins, each more cheerful than the other.

Painting, cleaning, hammering, anticipation
fill the air. Bait shops open.
Bikes zip down the road to the bagel shop.

And the welkin’s light shines through
Into mid-sea caverns of beryl hue.

While Church Bells are Ringing

They say a raven dropped a clam, freed
the first man in the world trapped inside.
They say it found woman next, for pairing.

But today I walk alone in the windy morning
on a beach road between inlet and lagoon.
Sun flashes from the cold water. And above

seagulls swirl as though to escape rough
ocean waters just a mile away. Bang!
A clam smashes the road twenty feet from me.

The seagull in hot pursuit of its catch, lands,
pulls at the fresh flesh. Others join, jostle
noisily, hope to grab a morsel of muscle.

I stand, hope no man or woman will come
until the ambrosia is at an end.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

There are moments when beauty suddenly strikes, a new woodpecker at the feeder, the lonely awk…awk…awk of a single goose on a pond, an early morning mist over hundreds of geese on that same pond, the quiet stalking of an egret in a brackish inlet near the sea, a red dawn sky revealed when you pull up the blinds, a row of nearly-blooming cherry trees.  Beauty’s time is sometimes long, when the blue of tropical sea washes over you all day, when a community of poets reads a long poem of one of the seminar poets, when family gathers to celebrate, when you read a whole book of wonderful writing.  You just never know when beauty will, without warning, appear.


Lavinia Kumar’s poetry book is The Skin and Under (Word Tech, 2015). Her two chapbooks are Let There be Color (2016) and Rivers of Saris (2013). Her poetry has appeared in several publications in the US and UK such as Atlanta Review, Colere, Edison Literary Review, Orbis, & US1 Worksheets. She is a member of poetry groups in Princeton and Pennsylvania. More at: