Another entry for the Gratitude Scrapbook: John Ciardi’s Snowy Heron

A friend sent me the following poem by John Ciardi, a great contribution to my Gratitude Scrapbook. It’s actually the second time she has given it to me. The first time was in high school when she taught my senior English class. I still remembered the “two soft kissing kites” and “a crouch, a flare…”

The Harvard Square Library has a short article about John Ciardi that includes this poem and two others.

I’d love to include a picture of a flying heron, but so far haven’t found any in the public domain. Here’s a link to one of the licensed ones. I found this image of a large white bird from a picture that a friend took in the Forbidden City in Beijing. I’m not sure it is a heron, but it certainly has two large kites that I can imaging kissing.

Snowy HeronHeron from China

What lifts the heron leaning on the air

I praise without a name. A crouch, a flare,

a long stroke through the cumulus of trees;

a shaped thought at the sky – then gone. O rare!

St. Francis, being happiest on his knees,

Would have cried Father! Cry anything you please.

But praise. By any name or none. But praise

the white original burst that lights

the heron on his two soft kissing kites.

When saints praise heaven lit by doves and rays,

I sit by pond scums till the air recites

Its heron back. And doubt all else. But praise.

–John Ciardi


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Filed under Gratitude, Savoring

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