Nancy Taylor


A male mallard glides through the pond
squawking. Where sedge grass thickens
he wades, then stops and shuts his beak.
At that moment my dogs,
circumnavigating the pond,
stop sniffing grass and pause too.
Without tilting heads or wriggling noses,
all three animals pay attention to something
I can’t attune. As they seize
more than a moment of stillness
I wonder how the world would look
if people knew when to pause.

Would George Floyd be alive?
Ahmaud Arbery?
Breonna Taylor?


The Battle Hymn

Attacked globally by unseen
invaders we fight an enemy
invisible as birdsong,
omnipresent as sound,
mute as a tacet.
This new foe whispers
pianissimo in some people,
blares forte in others.

Our nation needs a conductor
to orchestrate fifty states
to play to the same beat,
with rhapsody—notes rising
till there are no further cries
for testing supplies or PPE.

Then we’ll synchronize
beyond the crest
when the world is less
careening and we all share
a vaccine.


Nancy Taylor discovered her love for poetry after retiring from a thirty-year career in nursing.  Her poems are published in anthologies: Women Writing; on the Edge of Dark and Light, Planet in Crisis and the Salish Magazine.  Her book, Can We Keep Him, dealing with dogs and their human bonds was written to benefit an animal rescue organization.   She loves wandering through forests in the Pacific Northwest where she lives on an island.

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