The crested heron flies over the lake,
Lower and lower falling with down-stretched legs
Slanting to the waiting water; she touches,
And starts ripples in widening circles, like water lilies
Unrolling their edges and staring at the sun.
She sits the water as a queen enthroned in light,
She drifts in hyacinths, purple and yellow and ivory,
She sails magnolia open, swayed by wind puffs
That idle with her steering, her pink feet hidden
And lazing pleasurably in the limpid lake.
She takes the wind puffs in her fan, and with twisted neck,
Plunges her golden beak, wet first with dipping,
Amongst her plumes, and vainly combs her white;
Bewitching as a maiden negligee,
The crested heron unselfconsciously, serenely preens.
She takes her time; why haste on such a day?
She lifts her wings to let the warm sun pierce,
She rocks herself to wet her lovely sides,
Till not an inch of all her loveliness is dry
And the reeds look on, murmuring of their visitor.
Now she stays her burnished beak, for she has done;
She arches her neck, and knowing well her beauty,
Looks at her gleaming image in the water mirror,
And with a heavy lift of sodden wings, lifts up
Her wonder, and leaves the empty lake.