• Penny Harter

[11/17/20]

Here’s today’s poem, written late yesterday. The photo I took which I wanted to post with this poem didn’t come out well, so I found this one that comes close (by Tim Wilson) on the lovely free site Unsplash (where I also found the cover photo for my new book.)

The Great Blue Heron

Last week, two days in a row at dusk it was there, a motionless statue among the many bleached stumps that jut up from this stagnant roadside pond.

The heron’s blue body stood on a ragged root, blending in as if it were just another dead limb in this forest of dead wood.

Some weeks earlier, I’d glimpsed a great bird, its huge wingspan a silhouette as it soared over the pond across the road, one where I’ve seen turtles sunning on logs— one whose waters can reflect the sky.

Then I did not know what bird it was, almost thought I hadn’t seen it at all, but now I know it must have been this great blue heron silently poised to spear a fish.

I stopped the car to snap a photo, hoping to capture this holy moment out of time, knowing that to have witnessed him once was a gift, twice a blessing.

But this week there’s no blue heron as I daily scan the weathered stumps beneath a gray November sky. No graceful body teaching me to wait patiently for whatever might surface from the dark.

It is enough to have seen him, enough to know that for two days a great blue heron graced this swampy pond, calling me to pay attention, luring me out of myself.

© 2020 Penny Harter



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