Herons are a portent bird for me. At some of the most difficult times in my life, their appearance has brought comfort and a sense that all would be well. Two herons (the season's first) flew over high above the highway I travelled this morning. I was reminded of my visit last week with some creative writing students at Trenton High School. One of them shared his feelings about this poem, which I had forgotten.
In one of the last poems he wrote, Al Purdy reveals, in such a simple fashion, that the heron was special to him too:
"A hunched grey shape
framed by leaves
with lake water behind
standing on our
little point of land...
...a blue heron
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way"
From 'The Last Picture in the World', New Poems (1999)