Tuesday 21 September 2010

Title poem of a collection by the Norwegian poet Thor Sørheim


In the tops of the black alder trees the nests sway
like dark suns, on the edge sits the male heron
sharp as a dagger, keeping a watchful eye on rats and mice
creeping below in the marsh, the moss that crawls
over tree-trunks and stones, it is early
March, and suddenly wings unfold from the nest,

hoarse screeches creak like rotten trees, there is a smell
of bogwater, bird droppings and frogs, the heron gazes
fixedly at the dangers on the forest floor, it is still
so early on yet that a screech makes sense
for those guarding the eggs just a few metres
from the cars that change strategy twice a year,

and when the herons leave the nest in April
to stand motionless in the reeds before lunging for fish
they still have the heron heights close by, the place
where life begins hoarsely and secretly,
with a bird’s-eye view of the catch
and the certainty that danger is never over.

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