Nothing owns the air like this hawk
Before this here kill. He commands the air
Like a sovereign would a subject.
The cloud hunter, outstretched
Feathered fingers holding back rotations
As he waits for the guillotine moment –
No thunderclap; an ominous cloud
Of silhouette congealing above.
Carefully hung from the sky,
Blowing in the breeze like washing.
This is his birthright,
Honed by a million egg-cracks.
A hovering executioner.
A sprawling of God.
Steady as a surgeon’s hand,
Shadowing death like a drone.
He surveys his surroundings,
Readies his eye like a strongman’s muscle,
And prepares to conclude a life
And roll away the world in revolutions.
He stalls the perfect kill.
The evening alive with anticipation.
Heavens breathe in.
Seconds pass like tremors
While he toys with us all,
Bobbing and brooding
On the sky’s surface like oil –
A black buoy.
He holds my gaze like prey,
Ricochets against the wind
Like the swing of a hammer,
And then plummets only to make the skyline fall.
This poem recently arose after travelling through France when, stood by the car during a petrol pit-stop, I saw a bird of prey (I believe it was a hawk, although I’m not completely sure) seemingly levitating out above a field in the near-distance while on a hunt. It was quite something: motionless. It could have been hung from the clouds. It was probably quite an ordinary sight, however the image of that bird, stuck on the sky, also stuck with me – following me over the next few days like the predator that it was.
Consequently, in this poem I tried to capture the suspense in that moment, the tension in that air of sky, the metaphors that lurked within, and the power of that hawk as it controlled the air – becoming my own Hughes hawk.
Enjoy the poetry, and don’t forget to like and follow for more new poetry every Friday.