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