Green Heron · Cuyahoga River

Green Heron

by Paula J. Lambert

It’s been hard for me to love Green Heron.
Homely, hidden, hardly moving at all, staring
into the depths, eyes made for that staring,

pointed permanently down, as if Sky never
mattered at all. How often we lift our eyes
to see her sisters soar: Great Blue, Egret,

those of the graceful glide, the long necks,
long legs, all while Green Heron hunches,
staring ever down, easy to overlook, so easy

not to see at all until she springs to action—
even then, we question what we’ve seen.
Praise the eater and the eaten, Joy Harjo says.

Praise beginnings; praise the end. Praise
our eyes now opened, praise understanding.
Praise the serpentine neck, suddenly retracted

and hidden again. Praise the fish swallowed.
I am the fish, writes Mary Oliver, the fish
glitters in me; we are risen, tangled together,

certain to fall back to the sea. Bless Green Heron
and her quietude. Bless beak become spear,
the javelin thrust. Bless homeliness, and bless

what it hides—bless all that it provides. Bless
the depths reflected, mirrored sky, the bird who
watches and who sees, bless the un-beautiful

creatures so quick to judge. Bless ignorance,
and patience, and forgiveness, and love. Bless
every new beginning. Bless everything that ends.

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Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.