by Theodore Roethke
The heron stands in water where the swamp
Has deepened to the blackness of a pool,
Or balances with one leg on a hump
Of marsh grass heaped above a musk-rat hole,
He walks the shallow with an antic grace.
The great feet break the ridges of the sand,
The long eye notes the minnow's hiding place.
His beak is quicker than a human hand.
He jerks a frog across his bony lip,
Then points his heavy bill above the wood.
The wide wings flap but once to lift him up.
A single ripple starts from where he stood.
from the Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke
The past two days, this heron has been in the creek by our place when I get home from work. There are about a half dozen that are in the area. Usually when I stop, they fly off as they are a very shy bird and very vocal about my intrusion. This one didn't even flinch when I stopped my vehicle on the bridge and opened the door to snap his picture.
Not even the braying donkey and thundering hooves
of the horse hustling to get to the feed trough seems to disturb it.
About six o'clock each morning, there is a pair
in the treetops surveying their kingdom.
It's hard to believe a bird that lanky can be so graceful.