enchanted by Sidney Wade’s “Blue”

“Reimagined Cormorant” by Martin Haake

Today, a little avian appreciation. Bask in the blueness!

“Cormorant at Dusk” by Tony Fisher
by Sidney Wade

The great blue
song of the earth
is sung in all
the best venues—
treetop, marsh,
desert, shore—
and on this spring
day in the wetlands
where, under
a late sun,
we stand alone
and in love
with each other
and the passing day
we watch a cormorant
whose eye is ringed
in blue diamonds,
a shimmering lure,
and we love this blue
and this dark bird
and this deepening sky
that pinks and hums
in the west, and then

the bird opens his beak
and flutters his throat
and the late
afternoon light
the inside tissue
of his mouth
which is as blue
as his ocular jewelry,
as blue as the bluest
ocean, as blue
as the sky in all
its depth, as blue
as the back of the small
and determined beetle
who struggles to roll
his enormous dung ball
in his own breeding bid
to enchant another
small blue miracle.

~ Copyright © 2016 by Sidney Wade. Originally published in Poem-a-Day, May 18, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.


Double-crested Cormorant’s exquisite ocular jewelry.

This poem turned out to be the nicest surprise. 

Wade actually had me at “the great blue song of the earth,” and as I read about her cormorant sighting, I grew more enamored of this dark feathered aquatic bird that reminds me of something prehistoric.

Did you know it has eyes “ringed in blue diamonds”? Or that the inside tissue of its mouth is also blue?  

How wonderful of Mother Nature to delight us with these unexpected blue miracles! It’s like finding a cache of hidden treasure. 🙂

Since cormorants have less preen oil than other birds, they must dry off their feathers after diving for fish, the mainstay of their diet.

Of course I love Wade’s blue lyricism throughout (“as blue as the bluest ocean”), but best of all is how she exalts in discovery and wonder. Her love of the natural world is genuine and infectious.

About “Blue,” she says:

We were walking on a lovely evening at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, and I watched a nearby Double-crested Cormorant through my binoculars, admiring his double crests, for which he is named, and which one never sees outside of breeding season. At one point he opened his beak in order to thermo-regulate, and the evening light was slanted just enough to illuminate the inside of his mouth, which was blue!

So cool! 🙂


Poet and translator Sidney Wade is professor emerita of creative writing at the University of Florida. She is the author of seven collections of poetry: Bird Book, Straits & Narrows, Stroke, Celestial Bodies, Empty Sleeves, Green, and From Istanbul/İstanbul’dan.


The lovely and talented Robyn Hood Black is hosting the Roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge. Tap dance on over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up around the blogosphere this week. Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

*Copyright © 2023 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

24 thoughts on “enchanted by Sidney Wade’s “Blue”

  1. A beautiful poem, Jama – and some beautiful photos, too! Love that “great blue song” line, too. We see cormorants every now and then here, although it’s rare they travel too far from the coastline. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Appreciations for introducing me to Sydney Wade and her keenly perceptive and gorgeous cormorant poem! Those jeweled eyes and out-of-this-world blue mouth are wonderful! I once took many pics of a cormorant curled up on the side of a pier and am so filled up having these images to add to that happening, thanks for all Jama! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I’ve seen cormorants but now I need to see if I’ve missed that incredible blue that Sidney Wade has written about so beautifully! This is wonderful, Jama. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, my – it was time for sure for you to celebrate BLUE again. I think I know a fair bit about birds, but I also am delighted and surprised to learn about this blue mouth – thanks for the beautiful words of this poet and for the spectacular pics, too. (Thought of this post earlier when I took a break to walk around the Furman lake and saw a resident great blue heron, emphasis on great – it’s a very large one!) ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh…how I would love to revel in a blue cormorant’s eye jewelry, dazzling against the ripples of blue water. I must settle for my Stellar’s Jays.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I did not know of the blue in a cormorant…blue diamonds…blue mouth…so cool! Thank you for the sweet and refreshing dip into blue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow. This poem has done what we hope for all of our poems — opened eyes a bit wider to the miracle and majesty, the diversity and whimsy of life. I recently finished re-reading PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK and Annie Dillard would have been all over this. I could quote a hundred lines from her chapter “Intricacy,” but I’ll settle for this: “Intricacy means that there is a fluted fringe to the something that exists against nothing, a fringe that rises and spreads, burgeoning in detail.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m here to give a shout out to the determined dung beetle–for me this poem is about the great eyecatching, obvious blues AND the inglorious smaller blue miracles we might miss. Thanks for this loveliness!

    Liked by 1 person

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