A Saturday Sentry

Morgue File

a heron stands
         one-legged sentry
         poised with watchful eye
         the gate-keeper

fish tell him their stories
of young birthed in brine and mud
marsh golems 
fins outstretched
toward an uncertain future

they pinch reality in the cheek
as tenacity bubbles in their water

warning of a retreating shore

copyright/all rights reserved Audrey Howitt 2019

posted for Poets United


  1. This is a beautiful poem. I can see you are a keen observer of nature!

  2. I love herons, sentries indeed of the shoreline. I resonate with that retreating shoreline..........they are all retreating these days!

  3. "they pinch reality in the cheek as tenacity bubbles in their water warning of a retreating shore," ... This is incredibly potent! The poem feels like an omen ❤️

  4. I'm surprised by your "marsh golems" in your world you created here. Herons are interesting creatures and frequent visitors to our pond.

  5. Love that image of fish telling their stories to the heron- predator and prey colluding to figure out those retreating shores.

  6. You open up a new world for many with your poetry and keen observations, and for that I thank you.

  7. Oh wow! I love your wording here. Beautiful and ominous at once. "Marsh golems" is a brilliant image and the "tenacity bubbling in their water" - so true of today's youth. I really enjoyed this telling of our story.

  8. Adversity can create strange allies, but what choice do we have when all will be impacted by that retreating shore?

  9. I really love the marsch golems what a creative way to name those mud fishes.

  10. Gorgeous – despite the warning in the last line.

  11. I love knowing what's going though the heron's mind. Now I'm curious about the tales the fish might tell.

  12. A tense stillness here, alive with possibility and threat—as all water environments are—yet doubled by changing shorelines. Red tide crawls up Florida's southeast coast again.


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