My Brother’s Blue Heron Poem

One day after the last leaf landed,
One before the first flake fell, a
Slate blue
Great Blue
Heron flew
Straight through, on his
Way to his
Mate who
Already waded a tropical river, where
Trees leave their leaves on, and
Birds never shiver.

Thomas Neely, circa 1993, all rights reserved

Today’s poem is written by my brother, Thomas Matthew Neely, who celebrates a milestone birthday on September 27. Tom and I canoed the entire 252-mile length of Michigan’s Grand River over a five-year period, completing our quest in 2020. Blue Herons often guided us down the river, and we considered them to be wise guides throughout our journey. We blogged about our trip at

Blue Heron along Michigan’s Grand River

Tom Neely (above, left) and Walt Whitman (above, right): could my brother and Walt Whitman be one and the same? I’ve never seen them together in the same room.

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