Judith D. Hoover 


By the Sea

By night the gulls rest offshore
Just beyond the breakers
Lulled to sleep by undulations
Of the green black water

By day they stand facing the wind
Turning their heads as one to watch
A skittering sandpiper 
On an important errand hidden by sea foam

The piper runs back, stands on one foot
The gulls rise together as the incoming tide
Brings one wave too close 
Then settle back when it recedes

A tenuous movement reveals a tiny gray and ghostly crab
Peeping out of its hole in the sand, then suddenly en pointe 
Venturing out, running sideways, its eyes two black ovals,
Abruptly sliding into a refuge, appearing again as only a set of eyes

A lone brown pelican flies parallel to the shore
Skimming the waves, then rising
To dive purposefully
Coming up with its lunch safely tucked away

The gulls begin their own aerial ballet
Of skimming and rising and plunging
The waves, too, approach the land, 
Rise up and plunge in a long roaring cascade

The afternoon lingers
The gulls stand by, the pelicans digest, 
The pipers preen, the ghostly crabs waltz 
The sun beats down, the people nap. 



Judith D. Hoover (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1983), Professor Emerita at Western Kentucky University, has published Corporate Advocacy: Rhetoric in the Information Age, two editions of Effective Small Group and Team Communication, and book chapters on Martin Luther King, Jr., Lee Iacocca, and working class rhetoric of the great depression.  She has also published articles in American Behavioral Scientist; Presidential Studies Quarterly; Omega; Southern Quarterly; The Southern Communication Journal; Storytelling, Self and Society; Women and Language; and The Journal of Intercultural Communication Research.


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