“Great Blue Heron” by Tom Sexton

Posted by PaulM

This poem by Tom Sexton will be incorporated into a work of public art on the Concord River Greenway, along with selections of writing by Henry Thoreau, Jack Kerouac, and Paul Tsongas in other artworks along the river path.—PM

Great Blue Heron

Far from the marsh and oxbows of Concord,

I stood on a bridge as the sun was coming up

watching a Great Blue Heron in the shallows

below an abandoned tannery that turned the water

different colors from dye that seeped from cribs.

It was the color of driftwood, motionless as stone,

ephemeral as the threads of cloud overhead

before light flooded the river and it disappeared.


I stood for a long time waiting for it to reappear

in the shallows again as if it were a god returned

to tell me something. A passing truck that shook

the crumbling bridge made me turn, and when

I looked again, it was there in the shallows

with a struggling fish in its long yellow beak.


—Tom Sexton (c) 2007
from “A Clock With No Hands” (Adastra Press)