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The Gray Heron

In this environmental science-themed episode, Elisa New joins biologist E.O Wilson, poet Robert Hass, photographer Laura McPhee, naturalist Joel Wagner, and campers on Cape Cod to reflect on Galway Kinnell’s poem.

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Read the Poem

The Gray Heron

by Galway Kinnell

It held its head still
while its body and green
legs wobbled in wide arcs
from side to side.  When
it stalked out of sight,
I went after it, but all
I could find where I was
expecting to see the bird
was a three-foot-long lizard
in ill-fitting skin
and with linear mouth
expressive of the even temper
of the mineral kingdom.
It stopped and tilted its head,
which was much like
a fieldstone with an eye
in it, which was watching me
to see if I would go
or change into something else.

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It held its head still
while its body and green
legs wobbled in wide arcs
from side to side.  When
it stalked out of sight,
I went after it, but all
I could find where I was
expecting to see the bird
was a three-foot-long lizard
in ill-fitting skin
and with linear mouth
expressive of the even temper
of the mineral kingdom.
It stopped and tilted its head,
which was much like
a fieldstone with an eye
in it, which was watching me
to see if I would go
or change into something else.

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