The Heron stood on the far shore, her reflection in the still waters made a twinned glory of her long legs and powerful breast. I watched from the reeds, trying not to breathe or disturb the quiet of the waters that morning. She bent her long elegant neck towards the surface, to kiss perhaps what I knew I’d grow to adore. Instead, in a flash of precise movement she withdrew, a silver fish wriggling on the tip of her regal beak.
For all of my practice and patience I could never move as she, for I dwell under the liquid glaze or on a sunny bank, never in between.
Often I would come to her and keeping a respectful distance I would sing to her the contents of my heart.
In daylight she stood grandly above the rest, a frank and watchful eye ever-darting, a thin smile stretched pleasantly across her lips. The reeds and bulrushes bent in a dance around her, catching the wind to make a present in her virginal feathers.
The night brought her to the edge of the shore. Her footprints sunk and filled with stars; waters slid off her back in silver beads and soundlessly rejoined the gently swirling currents.
I love uncontrollably; she had a beauty unmeasured that my heart ached to know and possess. And so I sang.
I sang of the deep and the centuries, I sang of lost lovers and broken men. And I waited – I watched and waited.
The Snowy Heron
As he first approached I was frightened. I’ll admit this fact. But the racing of my heart soon gave way to a rushing in my blood. I couldn’t help it – it’s primordial, you see.
Long have I been drawn to such power; the armoured muscles of his back, the certainty of his grin.
He sang to me from the reeds, high and sweet, and did this daily when I ventured out for my breakfast. Sometimes he would sing for hours and then sit himself on a sandy bank and shed tears. Often he entreated me to come nearer, to end his torment, to love him as he loved me.
At night, he came to the surface, a slice of flat dense blackness around which the moon ran rings and danced and shone like ribbons of pure white. This was his halo. This made him beautiful. His voice travelled across the quivering pools and into my pin-prick ears whispering musical passions that moved me hypnotically.
His life for mine, he said, laying bare his rude armour at my feet. His smile lasted a lifetime and was for me alone. So this is Love.
Brushing his jawbone with the delicate tips of my wings I drew him to me. The desire was too much, the want greater still. I offered myself to his song, his night and his kiss. The sighs we chorused into the air made the birds lift from the trees nearby.
She opened her vast wings to encompass him and accepted without protest his embrace. His kiss – he clamped his weight upon her, pried her love apart. She burst the night open with her cries, the thrumming of her feathers in graceful fruitless flight. Her head bent to his, necks entwined unashamed of their engagement.
His heart grew to bursting in his mighty chest and she covered his face with her wings so as not to see his tears. No tears tonight, just the two coming together – each hunger fed. Taking his delicate lady in his vice he drew her down and down; over each other they rolled innocent and complete. Her neck a strand of graceful sea grass flowing with the currents out towards a nameless ocean.