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Eye on the Heron
Christine Jackson


Along saltwater flats
the only movement
is the wind-ruffled river  
A stilt-leg raised
and poised in mid-air
blends with stalky reeds
along the shore
Wading through shallows
rich with muck,
each three-toed  
fork of a foot
grows mud-coated
Deliberate and angular,
first one
then one
then again one  
then the other  
A fin swishes,
silver splashes
shatters a glassy surface
The neck sac throbs
a surprised croak
amid pokes and lunges,
stabbing salty water,
Head rhythmic,
beak pincers scissor  
the wriggling mackerel,
gray-green and luminous,  
over a row of jagged firs  
lining the shore,
paddle feet trail on a plume of wind,
and the long neck leans  
toward a blue line  
where tidal river empties into sky.

© by Christine Jackson.
Used here with the author's permission.

Christine Jackson calls herself “a long-time swamp creature.” She grew up as a Rhode Island swamp Yankee, but now lives with her husband and a Jack Russell terrier on the edge of the Florida Everglades. Recently retired after many decades of teaching literature and creative writing at a South Florida university, Christine is now content to practice Beethoven piano sonatas and fill her laptop screen with new word-dreams. Learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
such evocative imagery - I WAS THERE!! Thankyou
Posted 01/25/2021 12:10 AM
Vividly descriptive details here--highlighting supper's escape!
Posted 01/23/2021 09:35 AM
Looking forward to reading more of your work.
Posted 01/22/2021 05:19 PM
Lori Levy:
Very picturesque. I can see the scene clearly.
Posted 01/22/2021 02:51 PM
Well done! Each word carefully selected.
Posted 01/22/2021 12:06 PM
Stephen Anderson:
Every now and then, I treasure the fusion of poetry with Nature. Bravo, Christine!
Posted 01/22/2021 10:24 AM
Darrell Arnold:
In all my years of wandering around lake shores in Colorado, I saw many herons, mostly great blues, but only one time did I actually witness you describe so eloquently in your poem. This heron caught a lake trout, and I feared he would lose it because of the careless way he let the fairly large fish writhe and wiggle. But, when he was ready the heron tossed the fist about until the head was downward in his beak and the swallowed him quickly down. I have witnessed ospreys catch theirs in an entire different way -- a long, fast deep dive into the lake and then a surfacing with fish in it's talons. The osprey lines his fish up with the length of his own body and then flies aerodynamically toward some high perch for a longer dining experience.
Posted 01/22/2021 09:50 AM
Loved this!
Posted 01/22/2021 09:36 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this picturesque poem. I can clearly see the wind-ruffled river, stilt leg, three-toed fork of a foot, fin swishing, neck sac throbbing, beak pincers scissoring, paddle feet trailing on a plume of wind and long neck leaning towards the blue sky.
Posted 01/22/2021 09:06 AM
michael escoubas:
Wonderful collage of scenes, each one adding to complete the picture. Thank you for taking us into the eye of the heron.
Posted 01/22/2021 09:02 AM
Larry Schug:
A biology lesson in poetry. I very much like the connection between river and sky at the end.
Posted 01/22/2021 07:27 AM
Posted 01/22/2021 05:37 AM

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