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Sunday 8 April 2012

Birds of Prey for Easter Sunday Morning

Killing machines a case in point:
Nature was there before mankind -
and long before mankind - caught on.

These birds are such machinery:
each aspect of them is a piece
of specialised equipment, meant
for war. Nothing gratuitous.
Their eyes are not the general
optics known to us, they're martial
instruments designed for one thing
and for one thing only. Top of
the range, they have the power to
focus on a pinpoint in a
distant wood. Their broad wings are not
meant for forward flight alone, but
to support them as they hover
on thermals high above their prey.
Their claws do more than grip the branch.
Like beaks they tear raw flesh apart.

Their beauty is a side-effect:
fitness for purpose fashioned it.
The most efficient way to kill -
like any most efficient way -
produces living works of art.
Great beauty wheels across the sky.

from a picture prompt provided by <"http://nineacresdesigns.com/">Tracey Grumbach at <"http://dversepoets.com/"> dVerse Poets Poetics
(Apologies for these errors. Nothing I can think to try will make a difference. I am afraid you will need to cut and paste the addresses.)

Heard this morning that for the twelfth year in succession peregrine falcons are nesting at the top of the tower of Chichester Cathedral. They are incubating four eggs.


Claudia said...

heck...you de-romantisized those birds for sure..gave me some shivers along the way.. but there are more examples in nature for this..thinking of several plants as well...and then you drive it home with your killer last stanza...great job david

Elephant's Child said...

My father firmly dinned into us all that nothing is beautiful unless it fulfils its purpose. On that basis he loved hawks and tigers and despised teapots which leaked, no matter how pretty the glaze.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Killer last stanza indeed!

Anna :o]

Janine Bollée said...

A holy cliff then :-)
Just learned that their diving speed is in the region of 180 MPH, supposedly the fastest creature in the world with optics 8 times the strength of ours. Have a happy time this weekend.

kaykuala said...

Birds of prey,they look beautiful on their own.But see them tearing apart their catch, a pitiful sight! Their prized catch still struggling and wriggling.Great verse, Dave!


David Cranmer said...

"Their beauty is a side-effect." Loved that line and every line.

000 april said...

The magic formula for your link is at the bottom of my page. Keep it in one line when copying and pasting though.

Rachel Cotterill said...

So true! They're very well suited to what they do.

Brian Miller said...

interesting tidbit in the footnote ,,,they are magnificent birds...but to be respected as with all nature as they are wild...part of the beauty is that they are created thus....

Wolfsrosebud said...

I liked how you brought in an analytical feel to this

A Cuban In London said...

I was mesmerised by your lines, Dave. They reminded me of the time I went camping with our local Woodcraft to Dorset and we went on a walk. We all had our lunch sitting on a hill overlooking the beautiful Dorset coast. Suddenly a hawk appeared and it hovered for a few seconds before it lunged itself down to catch its prey. An unbelievable sight, just like your poem was a marvellous read. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Love this poem, Dave--it's one of your best, I think.

Scarlet said...

Though we all used the same picture, your eye for the details is exemplary. I like how you described them in all their killer beauty...great wings across the sky ~

Happy Easter to you ~

Anonymous said...

Literally stream-lined!

And finally someone wrote of them as raptors! I think they really are.

One of your skills as a poet is to combine actual information, true observation, with poetic observation. It makes the work so interesting to the reader. Thanks. Happy Easter. K.

PS - I think the links did work. On blogger I also go to a site (from google) about making hyperlink code and then follow it exactly, cutting and pasting all the bits. (A pain.) Or on wordpress there is a like link making tool, which is useful. It looks a bit like an infinity sign. K.

Unknown said...

You have that right, and the detail and directness of your poem brings us right into contact with their source of haunting beauty. Terrible, yet lovely as they skim the winds, machines beyond the power of human hands to make.

Anonymous said...

i agree with Claudia, you took away what most people put to the birds, and made them very calculating war machines

voices in a treat

wanderer above the mist said...

Looks like this photo is the popular one. Nice poem!


Beachanny said...

All true - we are all specialized instruments made to fit together as an efficient ecosystem. The hubris of man may have upset the balance. We have not seen the finished tapestry, nor do we see the final picture. We were threaded in and one day may see what man has wrought. Well woven poem for this Easter. Mine is here:

ds said...

Wow. Stripped of romance, those birds are indeed fearsome. Beautiful and deadly. So is your final stanza. Wonderful stuff, sir. Thank you.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

This marvellous poems brings back to my mind these birds I saw first hovering over the motorway from London to Oxford.
And then a falconry I visited many times, my head tilted on high, that must have been the same attitude the first men had, waiting for the Gods to rush down and strike.

Conda Douglas said...

Love the illustration for this powerful poem, Dave. We have Peregrine Falcons nest every year on a skyscraper in downtown Boise. They've installed cameras so you can go on the Internet and watch the progress.

Dave King said...

Yes, good you pointed that out. I did think about plants, but thought it getting off the prompt a bit. Thanks for saying.

The Elephants Child
I'm with your dad!


Impressive, no? Thanks for the info'.
Have a great day.

Exactly so! The other side of the coin.

Bless you for that!

Dave King said...

Much thanks for the suggestion. Still couldn't get it to work, though. Having all kinds of probs with Blogger just now.

Perfectly so.

Yes, I agree. The wildness imparts a beauty all its own - as long as you are not the prey!

Much thanks for this. Good to know.

A Cuban in London
Sounds like a perfect time - certainly a grand spot to camp. Thanks for the account.

Really good to have your company and to hear that you liked it. Thanks for saying.

Thanks for the encouraging words.

Thanks a lot, both for the comments on my post and the info' on the links. Much appreciated.

Perfectly put. Wxactly as is. Thanks.

I guess it's how I see them - as Charles has it: a terrible beauty.

Thanks for this - and thank you for visiting. Good to have you aboard.

Love your analogy - and yes, you have woven in the larger picture spledidly. Thanks for.

And thank you, so much, for these encouraging words.

Great analogy. Yes, I think so. You make the image very vivid.

Great to hear this. They're fascinating creatures, to be sure. Breathtaking - literally sometimes. Thank you for your contribution.

As always, good to have you visiting.

jabblog said...

They are so graceful, so powerful.

Wonderful news about the peregrines - may they always nest there.

Ygraine said...

It is amazing how creatures designed for killing can be so gracefully beautiful.
They facinate me, always have.
I visit Chichester often. I never think of gazing up at the Cathedral tower though. Next weekend I will take a look...

Kathe W. said...

I love all birds- such wonder to watch- among my favorites are Turkey Vultures...without them we'd be knee deep in something nasty.
Right now I am watching them soar in the air-I am hoping their nest is nearby...