(for my dear friend, Jeremy Nathan Marks, a poet of mind-boggling talent,
for whom this poem has been promised for far too long, though not so
long perhaps as the lives of poems go...they are ancient things, even
the young ones, and as Memory is my negative Muse, I can not recall
exactly where or when this piece began, except that I know it began
in one of the many enriching conversations I have had with this man.)The Night Heron
the night heron stands
silent as the sea
refuses the sun.
shorebirds' shadows fall
on deafness like lids.
the sun speaks and you
see the stars. the wind
tells your stories in
voices of the night.
you hear. you listen.
you find your roots in
the reaching branches
beneath still waters.
broken reeds whistle
a hollow tune in
the wind and chatter
like bones in the breeze.
a clap, and you fly,
pulling long legs from
the water dripping
behind you, lighter
than any great blue,
heavier than light.
we search the sky for
fish while our branches
blow in air. we stand
knee-deep in wetness
while all the life, all
the time, is right here.
this song sings itself
in the sun. undone things
thunder as one while
the elders look on
mutely and mourn the
lost morning of man.
this work will never
be done. this song can
never be un-sung.
This one holds more with each reading.
Thank you Jilanne–I had to come back to it many times during its writing. It’s been in the works for about a year now I think. I think maybe it still doesn’t know what it is or wants to say and yet that is still part of what it is saying.
Thank you Chris–i really appreciate that.
I’m on my sixth reading Gravity….a beauty indeed
Gosh…six? I am honored.
Thank you Jana–
John, this is so lovely. And I am so honored that you dedicated this to me. This is just superb and I am definitely going to share it.
You really capture, to my eyes, ears and imagination, the beauty, poise, dignity and character of the night heron. Superb. It was so well worth the wait. This needs to find a home in a journal or. . . allow me to be selfish here. . . our book project?
Thank you Jeremy–I am gratified that you like it.
And yes–the book definitely! Which brings up the subject of being previously “published” or not when it comes to what we are thinking about putting in it. I’ve been meaning to ask if you consider our respective blogs as “published” for these purposes. I admit to having held back some things and it would be nice to let them loose especially in light of your rather prodigious output of late. I shall presume from your comment that you would be ok with using the blog as a “proving ground”?
Reblogged this on The Sand County and commented:
I love this poem so much. And John is such a great poet. He compliments me but I have to return the favor because it is so deserved.
This just keeps getting better every time I read it. Really, John . . . this is a perfect poem. I like everything in it. It has sound and silence; upside down and right side up imagery; it has history and immediacy. It is just filled with contrasts that all blend together.
Honestly, this is a perfect poem.
Ess. Tee. Oh. Pee. You’re embarrassing me.
Thank you. ‘Twas you what inspired it.
You are the Night Heron.
This really is just a beatuifully written poem. A wonderful read.
Thank you, Joseph. It is good to hear that. This one was a long time coming, and I felt driven to put it up though I still wasn’t sure it was “finished,” so that is good to hear.