A writer in Spring Lake, New Jersey, Sister Mary Bilderback is featured in our National Poetry Month series with “4th Street Pond at Dawn” which was her response to a notice that a naturally formed pond near the lighthouse at Barnegat Light was going to be turned into a parking lot. “I got together with a few feathery occupants one morning at dawn (and) this poem resulted,” she said. A local newspaper published the poem and to her delight, “No parking lot was ever constructed!” Sister Mary celebrated Mercy Day in poetry in 2022.  

4th Street Pond at Dawn, Barnegat Light, New Jersey, Inlet 
By Sister Mary Bilderback 

Click here to listen to the author read this poem 

A black skimmer works the cove 
He goes in low, beak angled deep 
Into the sky-drenched water 
Slitting the seam between two worlds. 

This is not a man-made pond. 
You can tell by the rocks, 
And the ducks in the middle 
Counting their feathers. 

A fish bumps the surface. 
A raindrop jumps from a cloud overhead.
Rings of water like a conversation 
fill and break each other. 

A cormorant hangs up her wings to dry. 
A willet wakes. 
Red legs scratch brown heads.