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Charles (the Great Blue Heron)

Updated: May 30, 2023




*Charles

by Melinda Cadwallader



From the start, this heron was a “he”

a Charlie, Henry, Richard, some old sport

(moved me appropriately)

a stately being, I suppose.

We settled on Charles.


After the first encounter, it was always,

“Oh, Charles, there you are! I’ve been looking for you all day!”

I’d say, with the tone of a martini in one hand, cigarette in the other.

He’d barely look up -

but not in a rude way.

I felt he acknowledged me

to some degree.


“Hello, dear.” He’d murmur, his sight fixed on the pond,

reading it like the Wall Street Journal.

I imagined he sipped brandy in the evening,

his cool blue feathers a smoking jacket

horn rimmed glasses, of course,

a pipe, perhaps.

So confident, my Charles,

and quite enjoys his solitude,

not alarmed or skittish, when someone, something, new

arrived on the scene.


As for me,

perhaps he sensed my wonder

accepted the invitation of intuition

leading me to him morning upon morning

trusting the innocence of my gaze.


I always kept my distance - in the beginning at least,

admiring from afar, endowed

with his elusive presence.

Who am I, that I should be chosen

to bear witness to this grande sir.

Charles.

Sir Charles, if you will.


On one particular evening,

I found him perched on an extended branch

of a pine tree, overlooking his pond

just after sunset, his form an indigo outline,

a shadowy essence of a blues musician

most certainly vinyl art

giving off saxophone vibes

Hat tilted forward, resting on a strong brow -

Oh, can we please talk about his brows!


Vibrant teal streaks encasing sharp eyes,

jetting across a narrow face, a poignant expression.

When lowering his head, white plumes pop like jazz hands,

returning upright, they slide back into formation,

a peek of his sleek style,

gel slicked coif.


Sir Charles operates only in one mode: cool.

Aloof, he never makes plans, never commits,

never could offer me an RSVP

but when he does arrive - he changes the atmosphere.

Everyone knows he’s there.


Out of utmost respect the pond, and everyone in it, responds

“We see you, Charles.” And when he wants to,

on his own accord,

make some kind of gesture, eye contact - you’d be flattered,

but be the first to look away, so he doesn't see how desperate you are

for his effortless acknowledgement.

Bored at signs of desperation, Charles takes off

In a slow wingbeat, looking back at me,

“Later, sweetheart” - I imagine.


It does feel like he’s flirting with me - at times -

perhaps a summer romance

knows no boundaries

in nature.


Melinda




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