To the heron who is wintering over

slice-of-life_individualDSC_1064.jpgI’m fascinated by great blue herons and have spent hours watching them. Typically they leave Maine for warmer climates by November or so. This year, a local heron appears to be intending to winter over. While I delight when I see it, I’m also quite concerned about its chances of survival.

To the heron who is wintering over

How do you fare, fair heron 
when snow dusts your feathers
and cold seeps into your bones?
When frigid winds buffet you,
and fish are locked away
beneath ever-thickening ice?

Why did you linger
when autumn light turned amber
and cast long shadows?
Why didn’t you spread your mighty wings
and soar?

Instead, each day
you step into frigid shallows

keen eyes scanning
for elusive fish.
Intent predator with stiletto stealth–
walking that thin slippery line
toward survival.

©Molly Hogan, 2019 (draft)

Jone Rush MacCulloch is hosting this week at her blog, Jone Rush MacCulloch. She’s sharing some beautiful poetry postcards and offering a giveaway. Go check it out!


18 thoughts on “To the heron who is wintering over

  1. Linda Mitchell says:

    Ooooh, your photos are perfect illustrations. You know you have a book start here, right? I worry for the heron being too cold and hungry. I hope Heron can survive the winter. I like how your poem begins with a question…and that there are more questions throughout that I also have.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I love the sounds as well as the subject of this poem, alliteration of fs and then s at the end. Stiletto stealth is perfect description. I wonder if climate change has anything to do with his staying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It does seem as if more birds are lingering, not just the heron. I know one woman who has a Baltimore oriole regularly appearing at her feeders! That’s shocking up here at this time of year.


  3. lindabaie says:

    Gorgeous and poignant, Molly. How indeed will it make it on “that thin slippery line”? I love your concern shown and those pictures are wonderful, but amazing as well in the snow and ice. Good wishes for that beautiful creature!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m always torn between delight at seeing it, and worry at it still being here. I do think if it weren’t there, I might worry even more. I’m hoping it knows better than I what it’s doing.


  4. amandahoving says:

    Great pictures! And I loved the first line, “How do you fare, fair heron?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kay Mcgriff says:

    Go, heron! Your photos of it are gorgeous and pair perfectly with your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Kay! I was able to get close for some shots because the only flowing water (aka fishing grounds) are near a culvert, so the heron has to be relatively close to the road.


  6. maryleehahn says:

    Good luck, Heron! Keep us posted, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rebecca Herzog says:

    It is always strange for me to see these birds in wintery locations as we have them all year round here in Florida. Sometimes I forget they exist elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! That last photo, what a shot. How interesting that it is wintering over. I really need to get out to the refuge. It’s been way too long. Love the posers, the herons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Jone. I never tire of watching the herons. I once read a poem which described them folding their wings like origami and I think of that all the time. I love that image! I haven’t gotten out in weeks to check if this one is still there. I hope to head out that way this weekend.


  9. cvarsalona says:

    Your photos are exquisite and the poem reflects a pensive quality.

    Liked by 1 person

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