I don’t know that I’ll ever think of myself as a poet. But sometimes inspiration that can only be expressed in verse strikes. A short while back, while hanging pictures with my son, I was struck to compose the following poem. I hope you like it.

Memory of a Blue Heron

I said to my son


As he helped me hang pictures of herons,

he with his plastic hammer,

mine of steel,


I said to him


As he announced, “It’s a Blue Heron!”

with four-year-old enthusiasm for

something so simple.


I said


“A Blue Heron once landed on our fence,”

caught up in his four-year-old enthusiasm,

“in our yard.”


“Oh, yeah.”


“But you probably don’t remember.”

“I was just a baby to remember.”

he then said.


That was when it came to me,

that was when I realized,

it was a lie.


A Blue Heron


Never landed on our fence,

never rested in our yard, never

in his lifetime.


It was another fence


Across an alley, in another yard,

in another decade and some years, before

he was born,


That a beautiful


Blue-Gray bird, the size of a small boy,

sat for me to see, and watch,

and remember.


So, I ask myself


Why did I give my son a memory

that was never his as though

it were?


As though


Taking measurements, hammering nails, and leveling pictures

with his father wasn’t enough for him

to look back on.


As though


What I had to give in truth wasn’t enough,

that what I had to give to him would never

be enough


To repay him,


For what he’s given to me.


Gordon Gravley