Sometimes life comes softly to rest
against the pilings, like gleaming
bronze leaf litter, nudging with
the spent wakes of outing boats,
the whole slough a teapot open to the sky
steeping last year's alder leaves.
Sometimes the herons pause, and
turn their slow reptilian heads,
actors with huge presence,
about to roll out their lines:
but they think better of it,
and take one deliberate step instead.
Sometimes the sky breaks into
the banners of angelic armies,
frayed by centuries of jealousy,
where Lucifer and Gabriel have stood
with gloves upraised for twice ten thousand years
that they will never dare throw down.