A Watcher on Salisbury Crags

In the glint of that gold-circleted eye,
Like laser-licht, the rocks fall,
Cleaved away over centuries, millenia,
Where the sparrowhawk has come to nest.
Brood after brood she made while watching Holyrood
And hungered after the pigeon’s flesh.
Doocots now replaced by railway bridges
A short flight beyond the Abbey ruins
And the ancient tower where Rizzio’s steps were stayed
By a thirst for blood, not of hooked beak but of blade.
The Queen was then heard to shriek in shock and tears,
Her own body bearing a bold boy unrevealed.
The speireag looks in her power and knows
That a tragedy has befallen, even though unseen.
Silently observing, from age to age.
Power undiminished. A people established.
Children of men and children of the air,
Proximal though impersonal,
Barely acknowledging each others existence.

Perched on high or airborne, the hawk is one with sky,
Body well-formed, muscular, agile, lethal,
Plenipotentiary, sinuous, pluviatile le cumhachd gu leòr.
For since the day that man first walked the Earth
The hawk-watcher observed with searing-sight
The tribes of men grow in fecundity
And grow too in folly and arrogance.
None of the deeds of man escaped the aureate eye
Nor now the vision of youth nor of Mothers
Nor precious daughters, our future.
For in the generation arising the excellence of perception
Will be renewed as our old, tired eyes grow dim,
Taking heart from Hawk or Crow of inscrutable intelligence
And the atmospheric knowledge of their birthright,
Custodians of the great wild winds encircling the world.
We may speak of climate or environment
But they know her as boundless home,
One of the elements along with Earth and Water
Regulated by Rìgh nan Dùl.

licht – light (Scots)
doocots – dovecots (Scots)
speireag – sparrowhawk (Gaelic)
le cumhachd gu leòr – with power galore (Gaelic)
Rìgh nan Dùl – King of the Elements (a traditional Gaelic epithet for God)

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