Morning breaks in the East
As I rise and face the West.
Through the window, across the field,
Beyond the new pond,
Past the break in the woods,
I see a fleck of white.
In the beaver pond, a snowy egret
Has settled on the branch of a long dead tree.
And soon, joined by a few others, it begins:
The gathering of the snowy egrets.
White upon white, they begin to arrive.
First, a dozen, then two.
I slip out and begin to creep closer;
Slowly, so as not to disturb,
As more of the egrets join to parlay
Among the trees of the swamp.
There are too many now to count:
There are now approaching a hundred,
If my ability to count does not fail.
How close will they allow me to get?
I can hear them now
As they converse in their egret tongue.
The gathering of the egrets is in full swing now.
What is it? What secret must be passed among them?
What warning? What new word?
What new danger must be avoided?
I still creep slowly closer.
Now I reach the new pond.
And within fifty feet of the gathering,
The noise o’erwhelms me.
May I get any closer? Another step
And suddenly, it all ends.
They begin to separate.
They begin to disperse, to go their ways,
To spread the secret amongst their own kind.
The gathering of the egrets has come to an end.
Doug Stephens III makes his home in Cumberland County, North Carolina, where his family has lived for hundreds of years. Everyday, he is blessed to pass by places filled with ancestral memories. The father of four God-fearing children and the owner of a small homestead, Doug reads more poetry than he writes.