the egret

It’s been a month since the contractors poisoned the weed that
was choking our suburban lagoon. Still water, mats of black collapse

the shore is quiet. Usually by October the reed warblers would be 
full-throated at their young: this our morning song, this an alarm trill 

this is how to hang a nest on two bent rushes just right. Next year 
— maybe. The pelicans mooch about before departing.

An egret wades in the shallows, brilliant 
like a tear in a curtain on a summer day. 

Yellow eye, yellow blade strikes, catches nothing. 
I want to make this bird into something — 

in its leanness and pallor, a township starved then razed
or our kids trampling helter skelter through the garden.

Unmoved, the bird stabs again, brings up a string of muck. 
It won’t mate this season; it’ll starve if it stays.

I’m thinking how hard it is to say anything cleanly, truly. 
Then the real bird lifts, a slow loping climb 

over lawns and picnic tables with a loud croaking call 
that I couldn’t help but hear as disgust.  

Image: An eastern great egret (ardea modesta) c/- David Clode at Unsplash, similar to the one so disappointed at our local lagoon.

And for music today, here’s Grown Ocean… “a large ensemble project by Sydney-based musician Novak Manojlovic”. with Memory Gardens (Youtube), which features songs inspired by the Illawarra NSW – where this poem was written. Maybe start with Rail Line, What Runs thru Coast & Colliery tho it’s all good.

And for those of you having difficulty with WordPress – here’s the poem as a PDF.

This poem was inspired by and written on unceded Wadi-Wadi land.

6 thoughts on “the egret

  1. there is a sense of hope for next year in your poem but meanwhile it is the birds who are silently calling out the indictments – and the egret gives the voice of judgement.
    Love the metaphor – no better way to draw the white stillness of that egret
    “like a tear in a curtain on a summer day. “


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s