Silent Intruder

Seven mallards

on our neighborhood pond

were making an unreasonable racket,

given the early hour.

Paddling furiously across the water’s surface,

the pack squawked and chattered,

a group of unruly school children,

spoiling for a fight.

I hurried to determine the source of irritation,

but stopped short, 

rounding the bend.

Standing in the willowy 

winter husks of pond grass

stood a tall steel blue heron.


with a smooth white breast

and a long, sharp bill,

the towering heron 

paid the bothered ducks no mind.

Instead, the quiet hunter 

scanned the water

for breakfast.

Arriving at the grasses edge,

the blustering brood 

recognized the futility of the mission.

Sharing the space was THEIR problem,

not the heron’s.

Heads hung, the ducks simply swam

in and out of the grass,

pretending not to care.

Or perhaps the ducks realized

What we all must learn…

Winning is hollow.

To survive,

coexistence is essential.