When I retire I plan to take up photography.
I will buy a very nice camera, a big tripod,
and a large, expensive, pro-style lens.
I will rise early and photograph nature.
Were you to rise early and venture forth
you might see me there in the misty landscape,
pointing my pro-style lens at a heron
standing ghostly by the river bank.
Ghostly stalker in the morning mist!
And then, if things work out, my heron photograph,
along with two dozen others
very much like it, and accompanied
by my three-paragraph artist’s statement,
will hang for a full month in Sherry’s Kountry Kitchen,
beautifully framed and available for only $250 apiece.
And I will sit there anonymously every morning,
quietly fuming that certain patrons
would rather read their sports page or play with their phones
or focus all their attention on Sherry’s Hearty Man Scramble
than look at my ghostly misty heron.
So all of this, in the end,
will amount to nothing more
than just another way of feeling slighted
by a world too busy and self-absorbed
to recognize my gift, my contribution,
my secret beauty.
Like the heron,
I will be ghostly and misty
and largely unnoticed.
But nonetheless magnificent.
—from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
George Bilgere: “Every morning here in Cleveland Heights I walk down to my local cafe to read the paper and work on my poems. And every month the cafe features the work of a local photographer or painter. We’ve got a lot of rivers and lakes around Cleveland, and therefore an abundance of herons, and also an abundance of photographers who are irresistibly drawn to them. It has become a kind of joke to my friends and me, who always look forward to what we call the ‘Heron of the Month’ feature. Thus ‘Ghostly Heron.’” (website)