The Wounded Goose

by Thomas Davis

Lost and lonely in the swamp
A wounded goose lay wild and still,
Its heart wild with the hope for life,
Its eyes calm with a sun-strong will.

The day passed over in the sky.
The hours grew long with passing time.
The night grew thick with silver stars
And swamp tides ebbed and flowed with brine.

Then morning broke above the trees
And warm, soft light surged through the day.
The goose lay wounded in the sun.
In swampy waters wild it lay.

Then high above the swamp’s wet bog
A flock of geese veed through the air,
Their honking strong with life and flight,
Their hearts wing-wild and flying fair.

The wounded goose brought up its head
And honked, its life and heartbeats strong.
It lifted wings and beat the ground
And strained its voice in plaintive song.

The day passed over in the sky.
The wounded goose lay wild and still,
Its heart wild with its hope for life,
Its eyes calm with a sun-strong will.

Note: This children’s poem, written in the late 1970s, was written to help my girls see the importance of recognizing the heart that allows even those wounded one way or another by life to keep on going. This has always seemed to be a poem about courage to me. Reading it again after all these years I still admire the wounded goose and its powerful yearning for becoming strong enough to join a flock flying through the skies.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

14 responses to “The Wounded Goose

  1. Oh Thomas !! Tears are flowing and my first reaction YES!! Little goose you will live ! no matter how bleak it looks you will rise above, though you’ve been brought down,your spirit is stronger than death! it made me think of a line I’ve jotted down to use in some future poem .My freed bird was back.Oh now ,what will I do, what will I do with it’s song ? I identify with this on so many levels . Wonderful piece and one that has me sobbing

  2. Supporting the young (or anyone, on reflection) to develop toward compassion rather than cynicism: a sacred duty, I think.

  3. Caddo Veil

    Very lovely, Thomas–courage in our brokenness, that is strength and the indomitable spirit. Yep, I got a bit weepy too. God bless y’all today.

  4. Julie Catherine

    Thomas, I have to admit that I also wept for the little goose … and for the powerful message you not only sent to your children, but to the world. Thank you, that’s just all I’m able to say right now …. xoxox

  5. sonjabingen

    I was probably too young to remember any of these poems? It is nice to read them as an adult.

    • I suspect you and Mary were both too young. Mary would have been in the crib when a few of them were written. They went into the file cabinet and sat there until Betty Hayes Albright asked that I post some when I commented on how much I liked her children’s poetry and mentioned that I too wrote some in the 1970s when you and Mary were young. I told her I had no idea where they were, and then I happened on them while cleaning out old papers to throw away one day. I did not write any when Kevin was young, but did a book full when you and Mary were kids and read them to you.

  6. Strength to persist when wounded: wonderful theme here, so well illustrated by your wonderful poetry images of the wounded goose.

  7. Anna Mark

    How I know that strained voice and plaintive song, the yearning. And how wonderful that this is an idea implanted into the hearts of children. I would have remembered it if I had been one of them.

  8. Ina

    This is beautiful and moving. The open end makes me really hope he made it. 🙂
    Although the poem is finished of course, and the goose probably needs to die, I wanted to add this for my own peace of mind:
    (and then, a night and day went by
    the goose recovered, weakened though
    he stretched his wings, they made him fly
    to where he knew his heart would go)
    😉 feeling a bit better now lol hope you don’t mind 🙂

  9. Astounding, beautiful and sad.

  10. Made me weepy too, but this is so beautiful. Even if the goose doesn’t make it, his spirit will rejoin the great goose flock and live again. Breaks my heart on one level, but makes it soar on another!

  11. This really moved me, Thomas…I could visualize and FEEL the entire scene. Such a tribute to the spirit that is separate from the body and can live in its true state of being beyond mortality. A wonderful gift to give to your children…and now to us.

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