"Heronkind": a poem by Julia Copus


Whatever is desired
is grown toward:
a glimmer of fish
at the margins of rivers
and streams, or in marshes
triggers a longing –
a muted, persistent
itch in the newborn
heron which
she feels at the base of her
fledgling bill, a sense that will
persist until the optimal
fish-spearing length is reached.
From this point to
eternity her dreams
are crammed with fish
or the nervy, darting
shadows of fish.
How much less complex
life would be
without this feverish
dance between
the wanter and the wanted,
though the truth of it is
that without fish
all heronkind would
be stunted.

This article first appeared in the 23 April 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Islamophobia on trial