(Photograph copyright 2010 by Dan Routh)
With stilt-like legs he wanders through the water's edge
content to watch the fish below him, not to hunt
but listen to the bullfrogs' croaking in the sedge
first loud then low, for he himself is transient.
He comes and goes with all the seasons and the winds
from sandy creeks where crawdads make their rocky homes
to miry ponds where ivory feathers hardly blend;
despite the mud he stays unsoiled while he roams.
And if a feather falls it's full of blemishes
in little time; it loses all its pristine shine
as if it never shone before and proves that his
persistent sojourning has kept him in his prime.
To see an egret flap his wings and fly away
is to discover why he never cares to stay.
(Poetry copyright 2010 by Devin Routh. Used with permission.)