Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bird Preacher and Bird Poet

Bird Preacher and Bird Poet

Heron and egret, wise and wild.  I saw them both last week as I walked with friends along Monterey Bay. 

Poet Mary Oliver saw “Some Herons” at dawn on the magic waters she loved and she called them “preachers” and “poets,” gowned, ready for a whole long sweet day.

We recalled her poem as we stood in silent awe, grateful for the birds’ sermon and verse.














Some Herons

A blue preacher
flew toward the swamp,
in slow motion.

On the leafy banks,
an old Chinese poet,
hunched in the white gown of his wings,

was waiting.
The water
was the kind of dark silk

that has silver lines
shot through it
when it is touched by the wind

or is splashed upward,
in a small, quick flower,
by the life beneath it.

The preacher
made his difficult landing,
his skirts up around his knees.

The poet's eyes
flared, as poet's eyes
are said to do

when the poet is awakened
from the forest of meditation.
It was summer.

It was only a few moments past the sun's rising,
which meant that the whole long sweet day
lay before them.

They greeted each other,
rumpling their gowns, for an instant,
and then smoothing them.

They entered the water,
and two more herons--
equally as beautiful--

joined them and stood just beneath them

in the black, polished water
where they fished, all day.


Come hear avian sermons and verse along Monterey Bay.  Take a youth service trip or adult pilgrimage.  Bluetheology.com.  I post these ocean devotions every Wednesday here and on Facebook.