Poetry Friday: The Heron

A quick scroll through the photos on my phone would let you know that I am fairly obsessed with birds. So when Christie Wyman, a true kindred spirit and fellow bird devotee, issued a “bird-related poem challenge…to anyone willing to fly along,” I knew I was in.

My contribution to Christie’s feather-filled roundup was inspired by a chance encounter earlier this summer.

The Heron

All at once, a heron
is standing
in the middle of the road.
Maybe she thought flecks
of mica in the pavement
were fish darting back
and forth in a creek.

But no quicksilver fish
swim in this endless
stream of asphalt.

Bewildered, she extends
her graceful neck
like a periscope,

Suddenly, an alarm
only she can hear
buzzes and
the moment is over.

Without a sound, her wings lift,
beat the air, and she is aloft,
her beak a compass needle
pointing toward true north.

© Catherine Flynn, 2018

Please be sure to visit Christie’s blog, Wondering and Wandering, for her “Birds of a Feather” Poetry Friday Roundup.

13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Heron

  1. There is an element of tension in this, and it was a relief when her alarm buzzed (I was expecting a car horn) and she so effortlessly set things to rights again. You craft a very clear picture in my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I remember you shared this picture & event, and now the poem captures it beautifully, Catherine. I love your imagination about the thinking of that heron, about the mica possibility!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Rebecca. You’ve perfectly captured the moment. Your sighting, noticing her, her alert, responding to the alarm and escape. This is a crisp poem… delivered with that relief at her safety at the end. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine, you captured the heron’s movements splendidly with lines like,
    Without a sound, her wings lift,
    beat the air, and she is aloft
    and the use of the word bewildered.
    I thought of that while watching a single plover flock to our beach mass today and then, take off gracefully into the air. Perhaps, that internal alarm is prevalent in other birds as well.


  5. Wow, Catherine–that is a fabulous piece of writing. It is immediate and yet rendered in slow-motion so that every frame of this 15-second movie is crystal-clear; you as observer are there but distant, the heron is a character but not caricatured, instead honored and respected. Wow. Move over, eagles and puffins!


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