Haibun for raptors



Today was a day of raptors. The outliers of a flock of red kites sailed low and unimpressed by my upturned face; I saw each feather, the pale wing patches, the bright russet red of pinions and the darker head, crook-beaked, bent, searching the grass about my feet for movement.

Speed and grace

in this silent death-bringer

no baying for blood

Then the hobbies, narrow-winged, sharp and rapid, darted past at head height. In their rolling swallow-flight they turned—slate-grey back, pale-flecked underside and face dark-moustached, gone almost faster than sight.

twin graces

speed and light feather-tough

then an empty sky

And the ever-present buzzards, with broad wings owl-like, wheeling over the fields where the hunters have passed by. Now I watch a kestrel hovering, saint-ésprit, searching for voles in the long grass, wings and tail fanned, each feather aquiver.

empty sky

suddenly fills with wings

and I soar


On coping with disappointment

For the dverse open link night



No longer spring, early summer sun

and birds that fill the air with song,

flood, yellow-gold and honeyed.

Grass, fat and lush seeps

with frog-leaping ditch water,

running bright as crystal beneath the willows.

And all is smocked and studded

with golden buttons of dandelion.

This richness,

this busy, bustling peace

remains when the disappoint fades

the fragile dream bubble-bursts—

life, death the cycle turns,

indifferently wheeling

like the mewling buzzard.