Plumed Lightening: the Heron

September 3, 2009

Great Blue Heron at Green Lake

Great Blue Heron at Green Lake

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

I always look for this Great Blue Heron on my walks around Green Lake.  I love this poem’s description of a heron as  “plumed lightening.”

The Heron
by Peter Jones

It stands on one leg
head-hunched, with no poise
of secret attraction, no eye
of mystery to hypnotise eel
or mouse.

Equivocal serenity,
that takes in the marsh’s
complaisant track, covering
the journey to the shallows.

The heron is still
and stays so;
until plumed lightening strikes
from its endless patience.

by Ted Kooser

I have been watching a Great Blue Heron
fish in the cattails, easing ahead
with the stealth of a lover composing a letter,
the hungry words looping and blue
as they coil and uncoil, as they kiss and sting.

Let’s say that he holds down an everyday job
in an office.  His blue suit blends in.
Long days swim beneath the glass top
of his desk, each one alike.  On the lip
of each morning, a bubble trembles.

No one has seen him there, writing a letter
to a woman he loves.  His pencil is poised
in the air like the beak of a bird.
He would spear the whole world if he could,
toss it and swallow it live.

Heron in flight

Heron in flight

Heron Rises from the Dark, Summer Pond
by Mary Oliver

So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

and she turns
from thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself —
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: