Poetry: A Sea Gull, Two Crows and an Egret on Duty

AFABW Int Poetry of the Month

February 10, 2024 – Los Angeles: Dean Blehert is a poetry teacher, poetry editor and has had seven poetry books published.

A Sea Gull, Two Crows and an Egret on Duty

I sat in the café looking out
at a few half-occupied tables
and just beyond, a railing where perched
a sea gull and an egret and (on and off)
two crows, one, always, with beak open,
though I heard nothing through the glass,

and I noticed, must have noticed before, but
with such intensity it blinded memory —
noticed how hard they were working
to survive. They stood so steadfastly
(whose stead, redundantly implies standing,
and yes, they stood so redundantly), the egret
especially, on its skinny, slightly knock-kneed legs
and spraddled feet, looking so hard
and longingly at the table, diving
so fiercely for the tiniest scraps —

if you asked them why they bothered so
to survive, I doubt if they could have
voiced anything we’d recognize
as thought, but I could see (though
the egret was, between dives, a frazzled
clown, twisting and bending his long neck
to peck at mites, rising with head feathers
and wisps all a-hooey like the meanly
squinting little mustached guy
in Laurel and Hardy, dripping from the custard pie
that just splooshed him, and the gull,
for all his intensity when stirred to move,
had a serenely distant look, and the crows
flung themselves about as if their feet
would know where to stop — and above them,
more gulls swoop past, coasting on thermals,
as if endlessly, deliriously at play) — I could see

a continuing serious thrust to keep this game
going, a kind of duty, not a sergeant’s glare,
but staunch, maybe no awareness
that species are dying off, that the planet
is endangered, but an intense knowing,
as if, by stripping it of thought, the naked
knowing was more pure, as if, having
no thought (nothing we’d call thought),
they had BECOME the thought,
the world’s thought, of survival.

Dean Blehert resides in Virginia.
Copyright © By Dean Blehert. All Rights Reserved.
website: blehert.com