Hushed, he
cuts the surface without
a ripple, stalks his reflection
along the fringe of the pond,
composed in assassin’s

restraint. Step by step,
his sharp bill poised

among the cattails, he folds
his ungainly legs below
his body, steadies
the long scimitar of his neck
and moves on,
            crossing the water

with the stealth of a cloud.

Al is an English teacher in the Kansas City area. His poetry has appeared in The New York Quarterly, The English Journal, The Laurel Review and others. Presently, he's co-editing The Little Balkans Review. Al's next book of poetry, Finding the Edge, is due for publication this spring from Woodley Press at Washburn University.

"Great Blue Heron" came about in an attempt to describe, not only the beauty of the heron, but its peaceful movement across the top of a pond, all the while trying to keep in mind that the heron was a hunter, connected as much to the wild as, let's say, the wolf. Writing the poem took many revisions because I kept trying to interject too many thoughts, too many concepts. Arriving at simplicity can be a complex winnowing process.



Copyright 2009