Poem: “The Great and Splendid”


The Great and Splendid

Hunched on the limb of a young green tree
A red-tailed hawk in a crowd of yelling jays
Hemmed by limbs and leaves
Close confined, a cage of wings and screams
They hit the broad brown wings and swoop away

Crouches, helpless to strike back, to apprehend
The midgets who assail its dignity and prowess
The ripping talons grip, engaged to hold it downward
Gray hooks sharp and hard as tested steel
Curved hooked beak perplexed, an ivory cutlass

It stands and slightly bows and almost flinches as they dive
Buffeting the curved strong back and yet it stays
Until at last – enough – it launches gliding down the valley
Great slow wings extended, feathers spread for soaring
So that the separate pinions are displayed

Wide-spreading to the light between the trees
Down along the quiet branch that stops and flows
And then uphill into the stand of trees, away
Into the green and shaded light of afternoon –
One quick avenging jay pursues, the great and splendid goes

May 25, 2011


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