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This poem is taken from PN Review 92, Volume 19 Number 6, July - August 1993.

Poems Judy Gahagan

WATCHING THE HERON

The slow movement of this day is getting slower
and slower: I listen for the final pianissimo, the
last long drawn-out note on a solstice afternoon
halted in the eternity between 3.00 and 4.15,

and watch the heron deliberate, so friendless,
high on his plinth and academic. Squawking geese
slide across the ice on heavy bellies. He lifts
one thin foot, uncomprehending of the sudden hardship,

and puts it down again; it has darkened imperceptibly
meanwhile. It seems in this hour the terror of history,
millenial pile-ups of irreversible facts, could cease,
become trivial, or become instead an epiphanous myth

of Eternal Return. I love this long slow aghast
at the pith of the year, the thickening inert dusk.
Winter's the house I feel safe in. The geese subside
...


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