Egret and Rowers: A Composition

30 April 2023

By Philip Kuepper

Like an SST,
an egret came in for a landing,
and set down,
causing next to no
wrinkle in the river.
She went still,
reading the shallows
edged by reeds,
sharp as scimitars glinting in the spring light.
She took no notice of the rowers,
whose oars played like bows
the cello-slow river.
In a flash!, the egrets beak stabbed the water,
like the flash of a violin’s bow across the strings.
Flash!, again, flash!,
stabbing, stabbing, the standing water,
Brutus-like, the egret, stabbing the standing water.
The cello-slow river shrugged.
The rowers bowed.
The cox had caught and held
the rhythm of the whole in his call,
not a beat missed.
After the rowers had passed,
after the egret had shrugged to flight,
I read the notes of music
they had written on the sheet
of the river before waves erased them.

(26 March 2023)

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