Tag Archives: Cooper’s Hawk


Cooper’s Hawk

under a rainbird’s shower,

yellow eyes


mermaid and frog

before taking a drink

at the ‘sip and dip’.


Too hot to hurry

in the heat

we all grow tame.




                                                            every valve
                                                            leaks a little
                                                            there is no

                                                            stopping the flow.
                                                            – Gary Snyder (“Fixing the System”)

I worried once
about wasting water,

                              steady drip

at the trough,
at the hose bib,
at the gate valve

                              green year-round

gathering tree frogs,
snakes and cottontails.


Raining crystal drops
rising with Greenheads
from the tailwater
of the irrigated pasture

               on a Sabbath
               with my father
               instead of church:

he spoke into the clouds.


               With the gravity
               that holds us close
               to this earth,

                              always a little
                              leaks by
                              to remind us.




© drycrikjournal.com


Laugh when you can—
there are enough unfunny days.

Let irony dance nakedly,
                 hand in hand
                 with the unspoken,
                 mundane truths
                 that squirm
beneath the flesh of humans
dying for confirmation.

We have become too serious
for our own good—
                 too holy,
                 too righteous
to be believed as real
representations of this nation
wrought from imperfect men,
and women, trying to forget
their sins—and I among them.

Let the wild calculations
of hawk and coyote confirm
                 our impetuous natures
                 to gain a better sense
                 of humor—
of who we truly are.


(click image to enlarge July 2012 photo of Cooper’s Hawk)





Hunting in the rain,
the hawk is back
hungry for quail

tittering in the bottom
of the brush pile,
casualties and prunings

I would have burned
but for last year’s lake
of constant rain.

Summer outpost
for ground squirrels
that robbed the garden,

a lair for thieves
packing peaches, pears,
apples off

to feast in peace—
battle lost,
the spoils of war

we’ll never win, but wage
with fire when the grass
turns green again.





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.





                           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.