Kestrel

Out of the alders
The kestrel arcs
Like a thrown knife;
Drives himself deep
Into the oak. Glares,
Dares me to want or wish for more
Than this short, sharp shot of him.

I don’t.

In a kinder, saner life,
That scimitar slash
Of slate and copper
Would be all I needed:
Here, now,
Inch-deep in leaf-mould and winter slop
I feel the weight of this
Unmanufactured moment
And all the riches of his weaponed grace
Settle in my pockets –

The harsh, hard coin of worlds
Away from our imagined realm
Where debt is credit
Gluttony no mortal sin
And greed is made
Our highest good.

 

As so often before, I find myself gratefully indebted to Tom Davis. I’d been thinking about writing another ‘bird poem’ for a while, and when I saw our resident kestrel down in the woods yesterday, I knew I had my subject. But it was Tom’s comments on my previous piece, Battleground State, that finally crystallised my ideas; I hope he won’t mind my appropriating some of his wise words for this brief detour into free verse. N.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Kestrel

  1. Nick, I love the poem, of course, and am, as usual, glad that something I said might mean something. The natural world has its harsh edges, of course, but
    Away from our imagined realm
    Where debt is credit
    Gluttony no mortal sin
    And greed is made
    Our highest good
    the natural world and the way we are inside that world seems damaged somehow. I would have loved to have been with you when
    The kestrel arcs
    Like a thrown knife;
    Drives himself deep
    Into the oak. Glares,
    Dares me to want or wish for more
    Than this short, sharp shot of him.
    Getting out into the woods and seeing what is real is important. That makes this poem important. It makes us see beyond our everyday struggle with the corporate world into a world that still is central in the kestrel’s glaring eyes.
    Good work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s