Week 206: Hurt Hawks(ii) by Robinson Jeffers

Apologies for lateness this week; just got back from holiday. Too tired after long drive to muster up anything approaching a perspicacious preamble, but am trusting that this fine piece by the American poet Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) will speak for itself anyway.

Hurt Hawks (ii)

I’d sooner, except for the penalties, kill a man than a hawk; but the great redtail
Had nothing left him but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under the talons when he moved.
We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance. I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed
Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.

Robinson Jeffers

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