Tag Archives: Cooper’s Hawk

IN BLACK AND WHITE

 

 

Tell me everything is normal,
that I have slowed as time
has accelerated change—

that there are people, out there,
trying to steal you away
with worry and fear,

trying to bait you
with their protection
like a coyote in a cage.

Tell me everything is normal,
that anything you say
can become criminal,

that all the double-entendres,
similes and metaphors,
all the poetic devices

may be held against you
someday. It was serious
in the fourth grade:

a love note to Denise
promising marriage
and devotion falling

into my parents’ hands—
a mortifying lecture
to be careful what I write.

 

Cooper’s Hawk

 

 

The arrival of the Cooper’s Hawk several weeks ago has thinned the coveys of quail around the house, required scouts and sentinels as they’ve quickened their step. Likewise, he’s had to change his roost as they’ve learned where to look. Startled at my desk to a flutter beyond the door, he was perched on the railing, waiting for the quail to come off the hill to water. Six feet away, this photograph is softened dramatically by both window and window screen.

I missed the shot, however, when he tried to fly through the windowed door, wings outstretched and talons hung in the screen door. It surprised and scared me enough to be spellbound, another moment where I have to be satisfied to brand it in my mind.

 

FOR THE BIRDS

 

 

                           They own the air we breathe.
                                Jim Harrison (“Old Bird Boy”)

Spring delivered a clan of blackbirds
to the Coastal Redwood thick with dead
limbs too far from home. Quick fighter pilots

patrolled the air and drove away the crows
like coyotes baiting cows from newborn,
from their egg nests—hurried off the hawks,

dived-bombed the dog when fledglings fell
before they left, gave up the lawn to families
of quail, little tikes on wheels from winter’s

prunings piled to dry before burning,
bringing summer coveys from the garden’s
damp cover to explore the rest of their world.

Hummingbirds hover the hibiscus. Black-headed
Phoebe’s wait from the backs of chairs
for flying insects that cloud our breathing.

Our space grows still in the summer baking
as a Cooper’s Hawk claims the air,
walks the rail to bathe beneath a sprinkler.