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Charles Brice: Wisdom

Wisdom is an albatross

living in Midway Atoll

National Wildlife Refuge.

She’s sixty-six years old,

my age, and is nesting

an egg, a new life,

hope in a shell.


On the front page of the Times

a photo, today, of a man

who carries a bundle

in his left arm—

a child wrapped in a beige

and brown blanket with

fawn spots decorating

its cover. In his right hand

he holds a plastic bag

connected to IV tubing that winds

from the bag and disappears

into the doe-brindled bundle.


Behind him a veiled woman.

Worry folds her hijab

as clearly as the squint

of the man’s eyes

or his lips’ purse.

He grasps the future,

a damaged package

cradled in his arm.

They flee a landscape

strewn with tyranny’s

detritus called Aleppo.


Wisdom is an albatross

sitting on an egg

in Midway Atoll.

Our government there

has pledged

to protect her.



Author’s note: The story about Wisdom the albatross is true. I heard the report on NPR on Monday, 12.12, while driving in the car. The irony that an albatross would be named Wisdom, that it was the oldest bird to lay an egg in history, and that it lived in the Midway Atolls was spectacular. A gift from the god I don’t believe in! I was especially intrigued that our government had pledged to protect her on an island we almost made uninhabitable because of our incessant nuclear testing in the 50s.

Copyright 2017 Charles Brice.

Charles Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out Of Chaos.



December 11, 2016: A man fleeing to rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria, carrying a child with an IV drip. (Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters)

3 comments on “Charles Brice: Wisdom

  1. alexisrhonefancher
    March 19, 2019

    Terrific poem. But am I the only one troubled and saddened that the blotted out woman in black is not even mentioned in the photo’s description? Like she doesn’t exist?


    • Vox Populi
      March 19, 2019

      Thanks, Alexis. What about these lines: “Behind him a veiled woman./ Worry folds her hijab…” So, she is mentioned though not really described, right?


  2. yobs218
    March 8, 2017

    Wow. I have a hard time writing poetry about the political concerns that are seen up close and personal. Maybe I could do it with the bipolar poems, but spread it out to encompass others I know who have different diagnosis. This was powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2017 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , .

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