Thursday, October 27, 2011



At night, barechested
on the porch in the warm air,
I heard the frogs whistle
as they spawned in marsh
reeds on the horizon, beyond
the field where the red
dog played ball. The ewe
in the pen was ready
to drop lambs. Carpenter
flies buzzed
behind wood panels
of the door jambs.

It rained at night as she
fussed asleep in the Spring
air that blew through the window
after we made love. On the drive
home, I saw the snowy egret
statuesque along the highway,
white and luminous in the marsh,
like the light on her face
before I fell asleep.


The egret spears fish
and frogs in the pond, poised
like an arrow notched
on a string to snag prey.
It stalks the pool's rim,
intent and careful
not to stir the water
as fish break its surface
nabbing flies and larvae.

I watch from the company
door way smoking cigars
on break, after staring
at a computer screen
for hours. And I think
of an ancient Egyptian
viewing an ibis at
a river edge
and wonder
how much
of this beauty
we'd understand
were he to talk
in my way
and I in his.

I imagine that oneness
with the bird that brought
the consonant of its glyph
to his lips as the egret wades
along the shore and flies
into the afternoon,
sleek neck bent into
a question mark, long
wings angular against wind.
Peace is being
at one with the world
that bring things into being.

Would I find happiness
at the joint of the
world's pivot as it
wobbles pole to pole
between survival and loss,
fullness and vacuum,
calmly penetrating
the core of change
from a stasis
that is neither change
nor duration? I seek
the phantom of another
time and place
because I want
this beauty to emerge whole
from the vortex
of the ages and stalk
small ponds of oblivion
where egret and ibis
move mutely along
imagination's edge
and do not disturb
moiling beneath
the surface
seeking sustenance.


I point out five egrets in the lake
to the young man who drives me
home from the garage. He looks
and says "Uh-huh," used to the sight.
He's seen them all his life,
or maybe he has never seen them.

How long to forget
the world, dead
to its wonder,
thrilling only
to cares and the drive
of Technopolis?

How long will I take not
to see you, egret?
The beauty of time
is in memory
and the fullness
that the future bears
from absence.

(c) copyright Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. Great Free Form poetry! Love the Egyptian reference.

    1. i agree. the Egyptian reference was the most powerful aspect of this!! :)

  2. I can't see that you would ever not see the egret but, we are all a little guilty off looking but not seeing. Another beautiful poem, Charles.

  3. i find the end rather sad in the young mans inability to see the opening, the making love and relating the sleeping form to the statuesque egret..i can also relate to wanting that other time...i know it is a wormhole of thought though as they too probably wanted another time then...but to speak to them yeah i could go for that...

  4. i agree with times we are guilty in not seeing the good things around us...difficult when they hide or become normal...difficult when they have another appearance as what we would have expected...great work on the metaphors here and you're touching quite deep ground with your work here charles

  5. The trouble is these days, well, for the past 100 years at least, we've forgotten anymore how to live. We race to survive the rat race but most of us don't actually just 'live' anymore. This is such a lovely write Charles, I also loved the Egyptian references old and present, entwined.
    I could almost see all of this, hear the egrets wings open and close and shifting air as it rose. Truly felt myself getting 'lost' in the air with it.
    Fabulous imagery Charles.

  6. I LOVE Part 2, especially these sections:

    "at the joint of the
    world's pivot as it
    wobbles pole to pole"

    "small ponds of oblivion
    where egret and ibis
    move mutely along
    imagination's edge
    and do not disturb
    moiling beneath
    the surface
    seeking sustenance"

  7. Beautifully structured, Charles, and ripe as a late summer peach with sweetness. I won't pretend to have waded deep enough to have stalked and delved it's full sustenance from the ponds of oblivion, but I do so feel the ache here for wholeness, the integrity of beauty itself, and how it raises us, and the terror of losing it, not as a possession, but as a medicine and a pillow on the world's hard sickbed. I grow a garden that delights me every time I see a seed sprout--half the people I know walk through it without seeing one color, one bud. So I think we either have that sense of nature's kinship with us or we don't, though I also take your point about the soul-killing nature of the drive to Technopolis. But a cigar and an egret make a huge difference. My favorite lines of many:

    "...Peace is being
    at one with the world
    that bring things into being..."

    *sigh of content*

  8. A truly beautiful free-write.. I sense the sadness and there are so many good lines in this...too many for me to point out, I think...another terrific poem that hits hard at the end...

  9. The death of wonder is indeed tragic. I'm so blessed, right now, here in the California desert for a while...sharing life with egrets, serenaded every night by frogs. Ahhh. Perhaps our job as poets is to keep wonder alive.

  10. Charles, excellent piece here. 2 is unbelievable, love the reflection, and how learned experience played into the daydream you had, i.e egyptians. In 3 I love the lines He's seen them all his life,
    or maybe he has never seen them. very strong, a lot said in those two lines. Great read. Thanks

  11. Beautiful! I think the key to living the largest life possible is to be open to the wonder and beauty of the everyday things around us, not taking anything for granted. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  12. Wistful and beautifully rounded. I love it.

  13. Very well said, Charles. How long, indeed, does it take for the wonders around us to cease to be wondrous. A great write!

  14. This is a wonderful evocation of the naturalistic, with its lush imagery and interstitial philosophical invocations. How sad that some people don't see the wonder in front of them; but how fortunate that there are some who see the beauty. Often, they are the poets - and with that line of thought, one can see that one interpretation of the poem is as an ars poetica, with the protagonist standing in for the writer, who distills the beautiful, the tragic, the extraordinary from the ordinary.

  15. Ah...only few were given the gift of the eyes of a poet. I hope you thank God for being one of the chosen. YOur poem is rich with love, lyricism, beautiful imagery and flow..Marvellous work...Chapeau!

  16. I was right there with you the whole way Charles. This was so easy to read a true delight. Don't worry about not seeing the egret Charles you are clearly someone who notices the beauty of the natural world around you beyond the modern world. I point out birds of pray to people and they just shrug! it astounds me...

  17. Beautiful story and reflections, though long it held my attention all the way through. Nice shifting of images with a matching rhythm in the poem. I liked how the conversation in the last section market a kind of climax that put the rest of the poem in context. Also really liked the Egyptian references given my interest in history.

  18. You know I live in the city streets and I often missed out these nature's offerings and beauty. I love the view of the egret and pond whose neck is shaped in question mark, the movements and scene, so vividly captured. Thanks so much for sharing your words...beautiful ~

  19. It is our inability to actually see what is around us, in front of us, beyond the end of our noses that means we need poets to tell us what is really there.

    Loved reading these poems. Thank you - and thanks for visiting my place too.

  20. This is wonderful. I love the reflective nature of it, and find I fit very comfortably within these words and ideas as they are thoughts I've had many times. It's easy to be blind to the wonder that surrounds us because it is always there steady and this world we live in is driving us to keep moving forward...on to the next big thing. So many vital things are forgotten along the way. Beautiful poetry.

  21. Pity the ones that don't see the the garage man's response to you...but you see it, and feel the pain of its loss in the invisibility of our world....this makes the beauty to you all the more poignant...or am I overstepping here....a lovely, poignant work. The imagry is very vivid, and and I thank you for the least to me, this is what it is. x

  22. Beautiful and sad...loved this..How long will I take not
    to see you, egret?
    The beauty of time
    is in memory
    and the fullness
    that the future bears
    from absence.

  23. You nailed this one.

    The imagery is just glorious, and so very vivid. The close packs a punch, and it's fun to see another take on Egrets. They cross through so many cultures.

    Great work here.

  24. I love egrets, your use of them, and your descriptions of and life you gave to nature. Great piece.

  25. Wow! We have three types here in Port A. I like the snowy ones best but you speak of the ones most plentiful and luminous. Beautiful exploration of a symbol of writing, mathematics, measurement and time as well as the moon and magic as well as your own personal and meaningful symbol. Wonderfully wrought.

  26. Beautiful, Charles, on all levels. k.