Two swans take off from the wind-ruffled
Water of a pond below my hexagon
And a heron glides down to poise on a rock
In a clump of reeds and waterlilies.

With his long grey neck stretched out he sees
All the eyes in the country
That are looking at him, including
Mine through the lenses of binoculars.

It scares and compels him to change his perch
To a half-rotted stake that no longer
Supports a barbed wire fence
Between neighbours at loggerheads.

In a dark liquid circle he turns
The power of his vision on the silt
Of decades muddying the bottom
Where fish he dreams about lie embedded.

Now I can only see the top of his head
Far off pointing down. Could this be the bird
That soared from a rock in lake water
As our friend’s ashes broke out of your pot?

This Issue

June 12, 1997