The Egret


The Egret by Mary Oliver
Every time
but one
the little fish
and the green
and spotted frogs
the egret’s bamboo legs
from the thin
and polished reeds
at the edge
of the silky world
of water.
in their last inch of time,
they see,
for an instant,
the white froth
of her shoulders,
and the white scrolls
of her belly,
and the white flame
of her head.
What more can you say
about such wild swimmers?
They were here,
they were silent,
they are gone, having tasted
sheer terror.
Therefore I have invented words
with which to stand back
on the weedy shore—
with which to say:
Look! Look!
What is this dark death
that opens
like a white door?