White-Faced Heron

Allan Padgett

 

A white-faced long legged

lonesome bird flapping,

graceful, soundless, focused.

 

Wings propel this blue-grey softly feathered

body downstream,

rippling river surface height

white cheeks glowing, eyes probing

shallows.  Bill poised to strike.

 

On landing, skinny legs step

forth, adopt a stalking posture

seeking to transform an innocent

finning fish to weightless birdness.

 

My introspection rises to a gleaming surface to wonder

at the ease with which blue-grey heron

spears into turbid rippling zephyr-paddled

waters to pierce the wetted scaly

resistance of one more squirming bream.

 

I roll down the nearby looming grassy

bank into your inquiring gaze,

and retreat in morbid haste from your finely focused

unspoken disturbing query:

 

is it on, or is it off, do you fetter my

tangible signal with a dismissive smile –

or do you cry into the night, alone

with memories of touch and melting promises.

 

I surface from the reed beds bawling, as

you, my white-faced heron, fly

silently by into

a night darkened far too soon by freedom.

 

Allan Padgett is a Western Australian poet who performs regularly at Perth Poetry Club.  He has been published in Creatrix, Uneven Floor, Creative Connections and Regime, and has read his poems on 89.7 Twin Cities FM.  Allan’s poem “The Wheatbelt Turns to Dust” was second in the 2012 Creatrix Poetry Prize.

My “connection” to Martin is through the fact that I read a terrific two-page feature story in the Weekend Australian’s Review celebrating Martin’s life and in particular, his brilliant poems.  I then purchased a book of Martin’s (Wild Bees) and fell more in love with his poetry, especially the “nature-based” themes and content.

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