Lane County Audubon Society has published my poem, Bitterns, in the November issue of their newsletter, The Quail. Bitterns won a 3rd place honorable mention in the Oregon Poetry Association fall contest this year.
Bitterns look as if they could have flown
in the days of dinosaurs,
flown with pterodactyls, and
now just pop forward to our time
for a brief visit now and then.
They are an elusive bird of the marshes,
more likely to stand still
as a statue, when discovered, than to fly.
Immobile, bill raised toward the sky,
their stocky, brown-striped figure blends into the grasses.
Flying, with short legs stretched out behind
and head stretched forward,
their throat pouch seems too large for their size.
Hunters of amphibians, insects, and fish,
bitterns have a call that sounds
somewhat like a water pump–
whoosh, bloop, whoosh.
I’d like to learn their secret of blending
into their surroundings when stressed
instead of instantly reacting;
to learn how to hold very still and
stretch one’s neck toward the sky.
“I’m not here,” my body would say,