Pelican Perspectives


Pelicans preening.
Some resting, dreaming,
At home in their habitat.
Long pocketed beaks
By oceans or creeks
Define what you’re looking at.

These white feathered beasts
Scoop fishes for feasts,
In aerial swoop or dive.
The water will drain
Through bills as a strain.
A method by which they thrive.

Katauta (Alliterative)

Clutches convening
Clans continuously chat
Big boisterous bureaucrats


Author Notes:

I spotted this colony of Pelicans at Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area while out hunting (unsuccessfully) for a picture of a Sandhill Crane, known to inhabit this area. They were about 200 yards away, across a pond, so I had to use my telephoto lens, which didn’t get them as clearly as I’d like. Pelicans are a genus of large water birds that makes up the family Pelecanidae. They are characterized by a long beak and a large throat pouch used for catching prey and draining water from the scooped up contents before swallowing. They frequent inland and coastal waters where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively and breeding colonially. The birds have been persecuted because of their perceived competition with commercial and recreational fishing. They fish by beating their wings on the water surface and then scooping up the prey. They catch multiple small fish by expanding the throat pouch, which must be drained above the water surface before swallowing. This operation takes up to a minute, during which time other seabirds may steal the fish. Large fish are caught with its hooked bill-tip, then tossed up in the air to be caught and slid into the gullet head-first. A gull will sometimes stand on the pelican’s head, peck it to distraction, and grab a fish from the open bill. Source: Wikipedia.

This poem consists of two formats – An Alouette and a Katauta. I combined them due their similar syllable counts, but wanted to juxtapose the French versus Japanese styles. I hope you can feel the difference.

The Alouette, created by Jan Turner, consists of two or more stanzas of 6 lines each, with the following set rules:

Meter: 5, 5, 7, 5, 5, 7
Rhyme Scheme: a, a, b, c, c, b.
Preference for the meter accent is on the third syllable of each line, but that is not a firm requirement, and I did not follow that here.

The Katauta is an unrhymed japanese form consisting of 17 or 19 syllables. The poem is a three-lined poem the following syllable counts: 5/7/7. It usually contains a typical Japanese “Aha” statement.

A single Katauta is considered a half-poem, however, a pair of Katautas using the syllable count of 5,7,7 is called a Sedoka.

Although not a typical Japanese convention, I made this one alliterative.

This photograph was taken by the author himself on September 18, 2016.

Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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