“BLUE HERON, WALKING”. I would add to the sentence that I quoted from Tom Shippey yesterday (“If you have no vocabulary for things, you notice them less.”). I often notice things only after encountering a description of them in words. There is an example in the current New Yorker, a fine poem by Julie Bruck entitled “Blue Heron, Walking”.
Here is the poem:
“Blue Heron, Walking”
“Not one of Mr. Balanchine’s soloists had feet this articulate,
the long bones explicitly spread, then retracted, even more
finely detailed than Leonardo’s plans for his flying machines.
And all this for a stroll, a secondary function, not the great
dramatic spread and shadow of those pterodactyl wings.
This walking seems determined less by bird volition or
calculations of the small yellow eye than by an accident
of breeze, pushing the bird on a diagonal, the great feet executing
their tendus and lifts in the slowest of increments, hesitation
made exquisitely dimensional, as if the feet thought themselves
through each minute contribution to propulsion, these outsized
apprehenders of grasses and stone, snatchers of mouse and vole,
these mindless magnificents that any time now will trail
their risen bird like useless bits of leather. Don’t show me
your soul, Balanchine used to say, I want to see your foot.”
On our walks, Mary Jane and I often see egrets and night herons (only once did I see a blue heron.) I think that now I will always be reminded of “…the great feet executing their tendus and lifts in the slowest of increments, hesitation made exquisitely dimensional, as if the feet thought themselves through each minute contribution to propulsion….”
Here is another poem by Julie Bruck.