Heron Feathers

There is a pond beside a landfill site
grown over fifty years
by purposefully planted trees
where moss creeps in like infatuation
tee-peeing young sprigs,
making a new forest for the fay.

Beside that pond I have seen
a heron rise three times
(in spite of the water’s murkiness
and my mistrust of it) in total majesty
to a branch and look down
white and grey, emptying

the pond of my preconceptions.
I do not yet know the ways of herons,
whether beneath swirling miasmas
of algae there can be fish,
why I always catch her departing,
freeze framed in the corner of my eye.

Nor why this time I saw two feathers
fall softly as gifts on the walkway
where I feared I’d slip and belong
to the pond. This was no trick
but two pieces of the plumage
close to her heart.

This happening changed the place
the way a kaleidoscope turns,
dissolving a scene
by shaking restless debris
underneath. The heron knew
what was in the pond and forest,

that places hurt and liminal
need magic. She re-made it
by the touch of two feathers
in an unexpecting hand.
From now I’ll see that pond
with the generosity of a heron’s eye.

Heron Feathers, Carr Wood PondCarr Wood Fairy Forest III

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5 thoughts on “Heron Feathers

  1. I think herons also eat small amphibians, which might indicate the presence of frogs, toads or newts in the pond – they’re more able to show up to new spaces so it seems more likely… but in turn they can only survive in reasonably clean conditions, so it may be a very good sign indeed.

  2. A gift indeed, those feathers! And the experience of seeing the heron at the pond. Such things make places special and this place certainly seems so.

    I’d agree with Nimue above that the food sought was probably amphibians rather than fish.

  3. Very well found words. I would have thought that any amphibians would be hunkered down under leaf mould, compost heaps, or at the botom of the pond at this time of year? Herons aren’t fussy though, and may take small mammals or birds. Lovely poem.

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