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By Kay Ryan

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time's fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn't be
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.


Yet another by new poet laureate Ryan, who told The Washington Post's Bob Thompson in "Verse of the Turtle", Bob Thompson that she doesn't worry about the shortness of her poems -- "'I just go till I've got it done'" -- and as for her brief lines, "'I like a lot of exposure. A word on either end of a line has exposure. I like the danger of that.' She also loves to bury rhyme, rather than stick to end rhymes and notes that 'short lines cause the rhyme to bounce around.' She tries to achieve 'the quality of lightness' in her poems. She is aiming for 'substance that evaporates,' poetry not as a burden but as something 'rising, entering the air. I want it to make us feel like we're taking in more oxygen when we breathe.'"

We spent all of Thursday not devoted to travel at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, a terrific facility with an aquarium, a desert dome, an indoor jungle, a great cat complex, and the most amazing area of all of which I don't even have photos: Kingdoms of the Night, the world's largest nocturnal habitat, with a canyon region, an Africa region, an Australia region, a cave combining bats from around the world, and a massive underground swamp with alligators, beavers, nutria and other animals swimming and roaming free under the boardwalks.

We were at the zoo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and didn't cover the whole thing -- we skipped the petting zoo, parts of the great ape enclosure, the new butterfly exhibit, and the elephants, plus the Wild Kingdom pavilion. Nor did we take the tram or steam train ride. We did see the bears, monkeys, and aviary, plus the giraffes and ostriches who share an exhibit with the African penguins. The zoo also has Little Blue penguins in an outdoor exhibit near the seating area where we ate lunch, plus Gentoo, King, Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins in the refrigerated section of the aquarium indoors. It's a much bigger zoo than we had guessed from the map and absolutely terrific for kids -- I highly recommend it.

A little blue penguin stretches in the wet grass near the end of a rainstorm at Henry Doorly Zoo.

Inside the aquarium, Gentoo and King penguins await their morning feeding.

The Rockhoppers were more shy (and harder to photograph, as they kept to the back behind the condensation-covered viewing glass).

The African penguins, here lined up waiting for a feeding, share space with other African animals.

I love how cats are cats no matter how big. Look at this tiger's protective paw on the rock.

The zoo has both a dairy farm where kids can interact with goats and cows, and a parakeet landing where visitors can feed the birds.

The giant pacific octopus in the aquarium was not nearly as shy as others we have seen.

And undersea tunnels with sharks and rays are always popular!

The rest of our day was spent driving past Kansas City -- which is currently under a tornado watch -- to Blue Springs, Missouri, from which we will head tomorrow to St. Louis for the zoo and city museum. We had an unexciting dinner of sandwiches in the hotel room and the kids went swimming in the hotel's indoor pool. Now I must go collapse!
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September 2017

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