Transformations - Poetry

Ben Magro: ‘The Hen Mallard’ and ‘Ruby’

Posted:  Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 4:45pm

The Hen Mallard

she looks alone
for a long time now
a sentinel of the lake
some unknown

i said to my son
the drake is gone
she never had chicks this year
maybe something wrong with the lake
she sits there on the bank so long

he said
no dad look close
she swims now
has dots on her back

he paints them so he knows
when something is different
when the universe has tilted
I got the binoculars
and counted eight chicks scurrying around her

she is noble
a veteran first grade teacher
never laughs at their antics
tumbling and climbing over and around her

her neck long and straight
there by water's edge
she looks right and left and right
has eyes in back of her head
a dragonfly sails by

she takes no notice
frog jumps breeze blows
she waits on the bank
shows them feed and swimming skills


We tell stories.

We tell stories to make sense of our lives.

We tell stories to communicate our experience of being alive.

We tell stories in our own distinct voice. Our own unique rhythm and tonality.

Transformations is a weekly story-telling column. The stories are written by community members who are my students. Our stories will be about family, love, loss and good times. We hope to make you laugh and cry. Maybe we will convince you to tell your stories.

— Kathrin Seitz

“Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.” — Henry Miller

Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at

until they take the long walk from
their birth nest
down through the woods
to the mill pond
where they get flight training and leave her


she as five by five
not intended
just quietly

came into a shattered world
walked beggars down the street
found them a meal
and their mothers
who wanted them not

was familiar with melted steel
and hurricanes
like me became calm
when bones were broken and blood flowed
911 revoking

then checked her own compassion
laughed and threw it off
for the good of everyone else

a Sufi shaman wonder woman non pareil
capers in the ice box.

I bow to that

Benjamin Magro is a working Maine photographer/writer. Born in Ohio in 1952, he moved to Maine in the early 1970s and began working as a photographer at a weekly newspaper, The Camden Herald.

Since that time he has worked for many clients and publications while operating a studio, first in Camden and later in Belfast. His photographs have been published in state and national publications, including The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times Sunday supplement, Horticulture, Yankee, National Geographic Traveler and Down East magazine. In addition to editorial assignments, Ben produces commercial photographs for clients throughout Maine and New England.

He currently lives in Appleton and is working on various editorial and commercial assignments.