I think that I shall never see

A King Rail nesting in a tree.

These long-necked creatures

Crouch in bogs:

Their long-necked stance

Near reeds and frogs

Makes camouflage

Expertly done:

Invisibility won.

Yes, I’ve seen robins

Egrets, crows

Catbirds — gads,

Sure, lots of those —

The chickadee,

Song sparrow too

The shy green heron,

One or two,

Cooing wood dove

Oriole flashy

Even the jays

Maligned as trashy:

I’m grateful for

Each feathered friend

I’ll sneak through forest,

Park and bend

And honor them —

Binocs to eyes —

But still — yes, still

I seek surprise

And hope to find

My Holy Grail

The “Life Bird” goal:

A Jersey rail.

Susan Matson, a Hightstown resident, works as director of teacher training for ELS Language Centers based in Princeton. When not writing curriculum she is busy raising two daughters, 16 and 21, and prowling the local woods and hills looking for feathered friends to photograph.

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