The Great Blue Heron

T

M.A.K. September, 1880-September, 1955

As I wandered on the beach
I saw the heron standing
Sunk in the tattered wings
He wore as a hunchback’s coat.
Shadow without a shadow,
Hung on invisible wires
From the top of a canvas day,
What scissors cut him out?
Superimposed on a poster
Of summer by the strand
Of a long-decayed resort,
Poised in the dusty light
Some fifteen summers ago;
I wondered, an empty child,
“Heron, whose ghost are you?”

I stood on the beach alone,
In the sudden chill of the burned.
My thought raced up the path.
Pursuing it, I ran
To my mother in the house
And led her to the scene.
The spectral bird was gone.
But her quick eye saw him drifting
Over the highest pines
On vast, unmoving wings.
Could they be those ashen things,
So grounded, unwieldy, ragged,
A pair of broken arms
That were not made for flight?
In the middle of my loss
I realized she knew:
My mother knew what he was.

O great blue heron, now
That the summer house has burned
So many rockets ago,
So many smokes and fires
And beach-lights and water-glow
Reflecting pinwheel and flare:
The old logs hauled away,
The pines and driftwood cleared
From that bare strip of shore
Where dozens of children play;
Now there is only you
Heavy upon my eye.
Why have you followed me here,
Heavy and far away?
You have stood there patiently
For fifteen summers and snows,
Denser than my repose,
Bleaker than any dream,
Waiting upon the day
When, like grey smoke, a vapor
Floating into the sky,
A handful of paper ashes,
My mother would drift away.
56
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

And Now She Has Disappeared in Water by Diane Wakoski
Diane Wakoski
For Marilyn who died in January april 1
Read Poem
0
68
Rating:

The Fête by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
To-night again the moon’s white mat
Stretches across the dormitory floor
While outside, like an evil cat
The pion prowls down the dark corridor,
Planning, I know, to pounce on me, in spite
For getting leave to sleep in town last night.
But it was none of us who made that noise,
Only the old brown owl that hoots and flies
Read Poem
0
78
Rating:

Ken by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
The town is old and very steep
A place of bells and cloisters and grey towers,
And black-clad people walking in their sleep—
A nun, a priest, a woman taking flowers
To her new grave; and watched from end to end
By the great Church above, through the still hours:
But in the morning and the early dark
The children wake to dart from doors and call
Read Poem
0
51
Rating:

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem
0
75
Rating:

The Presence by Odysseus Elytis
Odysseus Elytis
MARIA NEFELE:
I walk in thorns in the dark
of what’s to happen and what has
with my only weapon my only defense
my nails purple like cyclamens.

ANTIPHONIST:
I saw her everywhere. Holding a glass and staring in space. Lying down
listening to records. Walking the streets in wide trousers and an old
Read Poem
0
80
Rating:

Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 2 by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
. . . . . tell you? ha! who
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more
revealed. I,
likewise

1
Read Poem
0
54
Rating:

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Argument

How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country. PART I
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Read Poem
0
81
Rating:

A Vision of Poesy by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
PART I

I
In a far country, and a distant age,
Ere sprites and fays had bade farewell to earth,
A boy was born of humble parentage;
The stars that shone upon his lonely birth
Did seem to promise sovereignty and fame—
Yet no tradition hath preserved his name.

II
’T is said that on the night when he was born,
A beauteous shape swept slowly through the room;
Its eyes broke on the infant like a morn,
And his cheek brightened like a rose in bloom;
Read Poem
0
77
Rating:

Christabel by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
PART I
'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awakened the crowing cock;
Tu—whit! Tu—whoo!
And hark, again! the crowing cock,
How drowsily it crew.
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff bitch;
From her kennel beneath the rock
She maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady's shroud.

Read Poem
0
64
Rating: