A heron – self-motivated, self-contained, aloof – stands,
between a potted phormium and a wooden Buddha,
on the roof of a houseboat on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam,
two metres or so from passing cyclists on the embankment
and the nervous tourists queuing for Anne Frank’s house.
A heron – undisturbed, unconnected, elsewhere – perches securely
on a fallen oak beside a Cheshire pond near the motorway,
and the cargoes and the cars bound for the docks
slow almost imperceptibly as they pass.
A heron wades at the water’s edge by Beaumaris pier: an accomplished,
stilt-walker’s strides – elegant, certain, considered, entertaining.
The setting sun casts our close shadows on the planking.
In the distance, cloud shadows cross Snowdonia.
And we say, as we always say, ‘This is so beautiful’:
its disparateness; the stillness of the air; the calm of the straits;
the prism of colours; the indifference of the heron…
which, suddenly and hugely, takes to the air, calling, calling…AmsterdamAnne FrankBeaumariscargoesCheshirecyclistdocksEmbankmentheronimperceptiblymotorwayphormiumpierPrisengrachtprismSnowdoniastilt-walkerstraitstourists.