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Great Blue Heron at Elizabeth Park
by
Ginny Lowe Connors


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I stop when I see it standing there,
smoky blue in low waters, a bird
Modigliani might have invented.
Without thinking, I take on its stillness.
My breathing slows, focus sharpens.
Is it telepathy that shapes me,
                            for a moment, in this bird’s image?

And then it leaps into flight, its wings
too large to believe. Unnerving,
its sudden change from slender statue
to menacing motion, to a density
and darkness that makes the pale sky
seem a paltry thing. And though I am
earthbound, clumsy and plain,

something hushed and unsullied
stirs within me. I feel it, the belief
that we can rise above the weight
of our mistakes, that any of us can be,
if only briefly, large against the sky.
                             I look toward the island in this pond,
where a birch tree leans over water.

On an extended branch the heron lands,
becomes another limb set against
evening sky. Like smoke, that bird
transformed itself and I am trying to believe it,
that we can do it too, and that a place
of safety waits for each of us,
white branch hanging over water.

This poem first appeared in Everybody Says Hello (Grayson Books, 2009)
Used here with the author’s permission.

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 Ginny Lowe Connors is the author of Barbarians in the Kitchen (Antrim House Books, 2005) and editor of three poetry collections, including Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge (Grayson Books, 2003). She has won numerous awards for her poetry, including the grand prize in Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Competition. One of her poems has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

An English teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut, Connors was named “Poet of the Year” by the New England Association of Teachers of English a few years back. Her poetry appears in many literary magazines and anthologies.  


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