Heron Dances

Heron Dances Over the World

I watch you dance. No one is watching,
even you’re not watching
as you spread your black tattered wings
and step among the colors of the physical world —
spindly legs conjure the symbol for infinity
in red earth, in fresh blue snow and white mist.

Endangered islands bloom, the wetland fills
with mountain shadow. In a parallel universe
your reflection moves to its inner calling,
to folded granite, music of the waterfall.

You live as hidden origami, with creases
and abandon, in intricate patterns that resist
the receding shore. You circle like an equation
neither eyes nor lips can touch—motion can’t be solved
or written on the tongue. You do not stop to preen
among the battered dunes.

Your cry wrings iron
from irony, recalls the silent bells, laments the love
I’ve forgotten. You breathe closer to the swaying aspen
than to the orphaned moon and the tide’s pull.

In this dance you are born again, create like a beetle
your own being. You are possibility.

William O’Daly

Published in Life and Legends, Inaugural Issue, Summer 2014; Sacramento Voices, Cold River Press (anthology), 2014