A heron standing as if time is frozen.
Gentle ripples splash long, thin legs.
Exquisitely-sloped neck shying from its rightful heavens;
Rather waiting for food solemn tranquility.
Empty cans and bottles litter the bank,
Discarded without discernment.
Cigarette butts scattered haphazardly
With no remorse yet endless recourse.
A Hellbender gliding over river rocks,
Enjoying French Broad purity.
Its body curving side-to-side to propel onwards
As its square head take on the clean water's current.
Algal blooms lock fish in darkness with no air.
Warmer water further stresses.
From waste runoff to rising temperatures,
Our actions harm the French Broad's hallmarks.
Delicate beauty threatened by laziness
Like gossamer in a child's hands.
The water, the blood of so many species,
Bleeding from our perpetual wounds.
The iniquity of man's stewardship.
We are not worthy of such beauty as our French Broad.
Despite the havoc already wrought,
We must protect the heron, the Hellbender, and all.
- Gregory C