Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Art of Heronry

I am studying the art of heronry.

You are a master of patience.
You can wait on one leg,
A spearman poised and immobile,
Longer than I can wait on two (or three).
Your standing stillness cons the fish
Into disregarding you, as a dead branch
Or a boring relic from an old shipwreck.

You don’t need anyone to tell you
When the time is GO.
In that instant, you strike without delay,
Your purpose straight and swift and clean
As a stabbing spear, taking your prey.

I am relieved that even you
Have to work to get airborne,
Flapping and beating your great gray-blue wings.
When you are up, and stretch out your body,
You exhibit the whole history of flight.
You show yourself as the Feathered Serpent,
The one that grew wise enough
To make a home in another dimension.

I love the way you practice love.
You put on a gaudy show for your intended
Sprouting twin mating plumes.
When your gallantry prospers,
You are willing to work in intimate partnership.
I have seen you, ferrying twigs in your beak
To your mate in the frame of your nest in the trees.

High-flying bird of the heart,
I like your business arrangement
With the busy engineer of canals and dams;
Where the beaver builds, you build too.

Humans, who fly only in dreams and machines,
Know you as an ancient ally and exemplar.
You brought First Woman from the Earth in the Sky
Breaking her fall on wings spread like magic carpets
To dance a new Earth into being.

Egypt knows you, and the mystery of your rise
From the sexy serpent of Earth
To the master of air and of water.
Egypt calls you the ever living, the phoenix bird
Born again and again from the ashes of the old life,
Endlessly birthing your winged and shining self.

photo by Chris Harshaw


Adelita Chirino said...

Poetry is a wonderful way to hear about this majestic bird and her/his history; bravo, Robert. I found so many lovely images; the spearman's patience you describe opened a world within this creature's world as I witness it often on the beach near my house, but never entered before now. Thanks.

Wanda Burch said...

Magnificent poem.
A blue heron lives at the edge of a pond in the fields above my land behind my barn. When my son still lived at home, he would seek the company of this bird - and its mate - when he most needed company other than his parents. He found the best place to resolve questions and crises in his life was this pond where he would sit near the herons and watch them and await a response from the universe in the presence of its representatives in nature.

Diana said...

Recently as I was walking down the country road I live on, I noticed something moving with me - alittle above me and off to one side. I was thrilled to discover it was the blue Heron. Eventually Heron fly ahead of me to land in a quiet field of grazing cows.

At night I had a dream that consisted of one scene: a sunny day with Heron silently waiting by the side of a small, unrippled pool in the same cow field (where there actually is no pool to my knowledge).

Seeing a heron always feels to me like an encouraging nod from the gods and a reminder both to focus on the bigger stories and that the bigger stories are hunting us.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

A Blue Heron has flown over me twice in the past month when I've been driving, once when I was by myself, and the second time, while my partner was in the car. We live close to a waterway and to the beautiful Spring Grove Cemetary that has many wonderful ponds. The fact that it was flying over me in the same direction each time (North)also seemed significant. This is now the third time this month, via internet, that the Heron has blipped into the radar of my consciousness. Now it is time to honor that energy, perhaps by standing still.

Patricia said...

So beautiful the world you weave.

Blue Heron said...

Shagpoke, our childhood name for these remarkable ones. Beautiful flyers. Standing in the hayfield. Waking dream, lifting us up.

Anonymous said...

The art of heronry has such a nice ring to it. I especially enjoyed, "endlessly birthing your winged and shining self." Like us earthbound humans...

On a drive yesterday I saw a lot of herons...and I thought of their stillness and patience. I came upon this posting and will try to contemplate on this magnificent bird a bit more and how it might relate to me this week (or longer!).

Thank you, Robert, for this lovely study of nature at an opportune time for me.