You took me down to that quiet stretch of river
which barely deserves such a name,
especially in that parched midsummer month.
You held your finger to your lips
and with a sharp upward twitch of your
straggly eyebrows conveyed to me your boyish pleasure.
We clumsily glided to our lookout position
by the stagnant pond, it’s oozing stench kept heavy
by the still, stifling air. Our silence engulfed me,
my young years knew no such patience.
My mind drifted towards more immediate pleasures
when a slight dig in my side drew my gaze
to our site of interest.
Resting on a quavering bough was a tiny blaze
of azure and saffron focused on the trickle below.
A pure inferno of tightly bound flames.
His oversized head should have been comical
on such a fragile frame
but his majesty and splendor command only awe.
You and I, his willing servants.
Those brief, sweet seconds were crushed
when our regal huntsman sensed our incursion
and startled us with a swift slice through the air.
His shivering wings, too quick for our eyes,
took him beyond our enchanted stares.
I understood his nobility to be deserved,
a virtue rightfully endowed.
You looked down at me, your eyes as bright as his
and our wonderment passed between us soundlessly.
My rural rite of passage passed.