The Maier Museum of Art
at Randolph College

“Woodcock” by Marnie Crowell ’60

Churchill Ettinger, Woodcock, 1944, etching on paper. 

Churchill Ettinger, Woodcock, 1944, etching on paper. Gift of Dr. Francis R. Whitehouse, 2002. Collection of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, founded as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

after Churchill Ettinger’s Woodcock


It feels like woodcock—
the slanting light
of slightly after early supper,
the sweet impatient air
of spring mud and tired snow,
any day now pussy willows and redwings.

Bride, mother, matron, faithful,
but he never came direct to where I lived
though I knew where to wait,
the brushy hill under the first star
of an April evening
where we always met, our small history.

Here on the Island
they’re mostly passing through,
one night stand woodcock
so casual hardly anyone aware.
I wonder when I’m gone
will someone still be waiting,

the slanting golden light
that electric call you can’t pin down,
the whistling rise,
the private satisfaction
before the chilly dark?

Marnie Crowell is a member of the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College Class of 1960, and received an MS in Biology from University of Pennsylvania. As a natural history writer her works have appeared in numerous magazines such as Audubon, Natural History, Readers Digest, and Redbook. Her books include Greener Pastures; Great Blue, Odyssey of a Heron; Flycasting for Everyone; Beads and String-A Maine Island Pilgrimage, and several Quick Key nature guides for Deer Isle, Maine. Long active in The Nature Conservancy and Island Heritage Trust, she says, “The arts speak for the environment, and the environment is the lamp in which the miracle of life glows.”