Caught by the River

Herons: a poem by Marc Woodward

15th October 2017

Grey as the watery dawn,
wet with the guts of frogs,
the blood of moorhen chicks,

Ardea Cineriae:
ghosts upon the foreshore,
patient for fish and history.

Separate and sentinel,
misplaced milestones, attendants
to the helicoidal flow

which undermines the river bank
(the sliding snake that slowly
eats the water-meadow).

Their perfumed legs
are nectar to minnows
who crowd to be speared,

their beaks – the impalers
of stooping falcons.
Crepuscular anglers,

the willowy hernshaws
come and see and go
like cousins of the moon,

delicate and granite,
timid but constant,
observers and recorders.

Under their plumage
their hollow bones
are etched with runes –

the unreadable toll
of the seasons’ cycles,
the pool of the river.


Marc Woodward on Caught by the River / on Blogspot / on Twitter