A poem by Mary Oliver:

This morning

the hawk

rose up

out of the meadow’s brose

and swung over the lake –

it settled

on the small black dome

of a dead pine,

alert as an admiral,

its profile

distinguished with sideburns

the color of smoke,

and I said: remember

this is not something

of the red fire, this is

heaven’s fistful

of death and destruction,

and the hawk hooked

one exquisite foot

onto a last twig

to look deeper

into the yellow reeds

along the edges of the water

and I said: remember

the tree, the cave,

the white lilly of resurrection,

and that’s when it simply lifted

its golden feet and floated

into the wind, belly-first,

and then it cruised along the lake –

all the time its eyes fastened

harder than love on some

unimportant rustling in the

yellow reeds — and then it

seemed to crouch high in the air, and then it

turned into a white blade, which fell.

From Owls and Other Fantasies

Collected commentary on Mary Oliver’s poetry

More poems


2 thoughts on “Hawk

  1. I really liked the remember portions of this poem, and it had a rich description of the bird, and you could almost feel it. I like when you can push your mind outside your body to feel something for the words on the page. Through the vision of the author who ultimately creates a new reality for us all.

    Thanks for sharing this!


    • I also like the “remember” parts, and love watching hawks in general. Driving around east of Austin, you can see lots of ’em hanging out on fences and telephone poles – endlessly surveying their turfs.

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