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A Common Egret


If I could turn my knees around,

stand patiently in shallow water,

looping my long snake-thin neck

as I stare at the dim shapes of small fish

I stir up with my feet, I would be

a white egret meditating on a meal

in the solitude of salt marshes.


You might see my head raised above

a field of reeds like a strong flower,

then disappear as I strike lightning fast

at the substance of a shadow.


If you look upon me too long, I feel

the hollowness of my stomach, then

unfolding my ungainly wings, I lift myself

a few yards above & distant, to a place

I imagine I am once again invisible.


You would do well to imitate me,

learn the art of fishing

& mind your own business.



[Originally published in NHS 2005, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs05/rob_rixon.html.]