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Yellow Crowned Night Heron

By John I. Blair

Each morning on my way to work
This time of year I pass it
Posing patiently in the ditch
Beside the railroad track.
It's just canvassing for crawdads;
But this most elegant of birds,
Stretching its slender legs
And flaunting its yellow plumes,
Looks like a stolen fragment
Of Egyptian tomb painting.
It slowly stalks the muddy margin
Among the scattered gum wrappers
Beer cans, rusted scrap and broken glass,
Its concentration so great
That it stares past a million years
As if they never were, seeking simply
The slightest ripple in the bottom silt
To signal the morning's breakfast.

2002 John I. Blair  

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