Close / up

November 6, 2017 § Leave a comment

Something about birds of prey.  Far up, their eyes and shadows on the landscape, they occupy an outer world: kin to karst, moraine, arête, they are abstracts, like cave drawings.  Close by – that buzzard on that telegraph post on Skye, the kite flashing out of an orchard in an Oxfordshire village – they are startling as mummers: unlike in everything to domestic birds.  Truly, they haunt our places.

Buzzard (B)

Driving from Madrid to anywhere,
the glinting, diminishing city in the mirror,
everything you love about this country

is reduced to a few roofs among the prairie,
a brown gorge chocked from the mesa
and a pair of buzzards climbing the hot air.

Sparrowhawk (A)

Millmoor, 1975, rain piling out of the night
gold in the floodlights, black against green.
Against a soldered sky the arc-flight
of a hawk, uncanny, bewildering.

Kite (B)

That damp Welsh summer, a house
of thick-walled cold clamped at the head
of a track, the grey boles of mountains.

Each morning we watched birds a mile up
drifting in the frail sky, small as balloons
let go from a fair, sunlit and miraculous.



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