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White Heron Wading

May 19, 2008

by the willow, where fish
freeze in the dark shadow
of cascading green.
Be still cry the gills.

The heron tilts its head
watching for a ripple,
some sign, a reward
for careful scrutiny.

This bird is an anomaly
on the Ivy River,
too far north and more familiar
with sea marsh or estuary.

An albino great blue perhaps
but exotic in any case
here where the river twines
through old rock.

This day when the radio hawks

war war

the heron pauses on yellow legs
and eyes the shallows
for the sustenance it knows
is there.

by Christina Pacosz

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  1. Kim Becker
    May 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Beautiful poem that is all too apt for this continued time of war. Pacosz’s work is strong and deeply felt. I appreciate her subtle rhymes and attention to form.

  2. May 19, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    the stillness and beauty of natural images
    set next to the ugliness of war
    are a reminder of what poetry needs to do.
    Cheers, Chris

  3. May 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, interesting poem!

    I love poems like this, that you have to tug on before they start disclosing.

  4. May 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    wonderful, subtle poem
    much appreciated

  5. ceo
    May 19, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Very well done!

  6. May 19, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    The only thing more powerful than Pacosz’ poetry is hearing her read it.
    The strength of her beautiful words often stuns me to silence.

  7. Farideh Hassanzadeh-mostafavi
    May 20, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I think poetry needs and loves poets like Christina Pacosz who feel resposibility for peace .

  8. May 20, 2008 at 4:56 am

    this is beautifully observed and the contrast with the peaceful scene with the war news on the radio is perfectly judged

  9. May 21, 2008 at 9:24 am

    A beautiful poem, I agree, and well served by the poet’s skilled reading! It does not present a peaceful scene to contrast with war, however. Rather, the poem highlights the violence of nature. The fish hide because they don’t want to be eaten, and the heron’s “sustenance” will be their deaths. The pun in noting that the radio “hawks” war seems to link the heron, another bird of prey, to the big theatre of destruction that is war, all located on one continuum of pain and fear. This is, ultimately, a poem with the longing for peace at its heart, but I think it finds that peace less in sentimentalizing “nature” than in the contemplative “nature” of the poetic act itself.

  10. Christina Pacosz
    May 25, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Everyone’s comments are much appreciated. Thank you, all. James Owens really digs into this poem and for that extra bit of effort at posting his thoughts, I am very grateful .

  11. john evans
    May 30, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Eastern religion/philosophy recognizes that there is always conflict in life. Everything is eating something. There is always suffering from some viewpoint. It may be that there will always be a war somewhere. The ‘trick’ is knowing how to live in this world, at peace with our place in the scheme of things; finding sustenance in our own shallows.
    Hi Chris.

  12. May 30, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    This poem represents what I like to refer to as the river of life.

    I once stumbled upon a pair of green herons feeding in a clearing on a secluded lake–one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

    That scene, and this poet, remind me that beauty needs to be fed, too. Nature is neither violent nor peaceful; it is simply natural, and the instinct to survive is basic in all creatures.

    On a deeper level, Christina reminds us that in the midst of our human pain and suffering, we also can rely upon our faith for the sustenance that we know will always be there. Even if we cannot see it, what we need to survive is there beneath the surface. That is the foundation of our faith.

    Pray for peace.

    Thank you, Christina.

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