Ode to Slow

Ode to Slow

I appreciate slow after speeding bullets,
ground records, and the turbulence of climate change.

Like slow food, Zafu pillows sold online, apps
that ring mellow gongs to end minutes of mindfulness.

Three-toed sloths live too far away for me to know. Slugs move
at night on my lettuce, chewing. Rockfall and glaciers

have paths to find. Then the blue heron I saw at the refuge.
After years of tai chi, perfecting the slow arc of sun overhead

or float of clouds across a grain field, my fingers
cup as if I understand the ripple effect of flow.

All that practice, and I cannot duplicate, pretend
to ape the slowest leg lift of the heron

at a winter marsh. A rigid beak pointed at
mud, sedge, and dull-gold grass.

My urge, get on with it. Move!
One step drawn out, that heron’s.

Then a slippery stab at grass,
beak up to fog,

a mole down the throat,
swallowed whole

in slow.


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who has had to readjust her timeframe for the coming of spring to accept that it is SLOW.  This poem was first published in the North Dakota Review.

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