After Midnight, Early May

Early May is still two weeks off. But here at the farm the peepers have returned to chant the night. Of course, by day, resident Blue Herons arrive to hunt them around the pond and along the slough that drains high water from the pond and marks the old bed of Nederlo Creek. In the creek itself the herons prefer trout. The Bald Eagles that wintered here have mostly flown west to the Mississippi. But a few remain. And on a day clear and blue and warming toward May like today is, they describe joy.

The poem:

After Midnight, Early May

Through clouds kept here
by persistent, wet weather
the sky is bright, scalloped
by a moon moved toward full.

Midnight has passed again and,
again, I step out and walk
my distance up the road.
Whippoorwills greet me.

And a night bird, small
of song, but as steady
as this light rain left
by the afternoon storms.

Tomorrow the creek will run
higher than it ran today
and seed oats will rest bagged
until the weather clears.

I could tell you the peepers
tell me this, but,
truth be told, they speak only
of the heron’s beak.

They care nothing for creeks
or my heavy feet,
up and out again to wring
some sleep from this cool, wet air.

Copyright 2003, Karl Garson

Published in South Dakota Review, Spring and Summer 2003.

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