A giraffe?

I laugh.

They’re voiceless,

no stories can they tell.

For me such silence —

pure hell.

A pine tree?

Noble, needled and tall —

no, never, not at all.

Bound to the ground,

my roots buried deep,

not to play and dance,

plie and leap?

A whale? A shark?

Too wet, too dark.

But could I have been

a meadowlark?

Paint peaks and parks

with hues of dawn?

Chase darkness from the hills

with simple song?

Trill, breathe, open wide my wings,

wave adieu to night.

Lift and soar on morning’s wind,

Take flight.

Upon retirement from academic administration at Princeton University, Rice Lyons tumbled down the rabbit hole into the “Wonder of Wordplay,” a realm of poetry where she’s been happily leading courses and cavorting for the past 15 years.

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