Sunday, November 14, 2021


I have never considered writing about herons
or egrets or long-legged fowl
that philosophize and ponder shallows

while standing on one leg or two,
poised, quiet, alert, or maybe dreaming
of sedge and daybreak and a variety of sun-slants

on the calm waters pricked by reeds,
small islands of grass rising like the back
of a sleeping sea serpent above the bayou.

I did not feel the need to investigate
the life of herons, who are still lifes
hanging in doctors’ offices,

muted birds who have little to say
and are content to blend in with the nature of things,
characters to swell a scene

but who have no dialogue
and are listed in the dramatis personae
as “birds” and nothing more.

No one sees them. Not really.
Perhaps the wildlife photographer
or theater-goes with season tickets.

The homeless woman sits motionless
next to the concrete bridge pilings
or leans against the dumpster in the alley.

The veteran sits in the front seat
of his ’92 Dodge and stares straight ahead.
It is his bedroom, kitchen, and den.

They are as invisible as the colorful graffiti
that people have passed multiple times
and does not seem to have a them

because the colors are tangled,
the words foreign, the faces distorted
on a brick backdrop that is as mute as a bayou.

I shall write of herons more,
the backwaters of the invisible,
the still life that once breathed

and was so in love with the sky
that it dared to turn its head
and say, “I am here.”

~William Hammett

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