The Falcon

I know a falcon swift and peerless
As e’er was cradled In the pine;
No bird had ever eye so fearless,
Or wing so strong as this of mine.

The winds not better love to pilot
A cloud with molten gold o’er run,
Than him, a little burning islet,
A star above the coming sun.

For with a lark’s heart he doth tower,
By a glorious upward instinct drawn;
No bee nestles deeper in the flower
Than he in the bursting rose of dawn.

No harmless dove, no bird that singeth,
Shudders to see him overhead;
The rush of his fierce swooping bringeth
To innocent hearts no thrill of dread.

Let fraud and wrong and baseness shiver,
For still between them and the sky
The falcon Truth hangs poised forever
And marks them with his vengeful eye.

– James Russell Lowell

The Falcon

Why should my sleepy heart be taught
To whistle mocking-bird replies?
This is another bird you’ve caught,
Soft-feathered, with a falcon’s eyes.

The bird Imagination,
That flies so far, that dies so soon;
Her wings are coloured like the sun,
Her breast is coloured like the moon.

Weave her a chain of silver twist,
And a little hood of scarlet wool,
And let her perch upon your wrist,
And tell her she is beautiful.

– Elinor Wylie

I don’t usually expect to discover signs of wildlife to appear uninvited in my 22nd floor apartment, but tonight I was surprised to find a tiny grey feather on the side in my kitchen– and it got me wondering about the little bird that came to visit…and just how high birds fly…and how incredible it is they always know where they’re going and the best way to get there…

– Sh. W., via Facebook

Photograph. A bald eagle in flight, wings downswept, beak opened in anticipation.
Martin Klimas.

The photographs of birds of prey are selfies in the broadest sense. As soon as they have taken flight, the birds pass through a light beam sensor, effectively snapping their own pictures. Klimas shows them in a perfect paradox: although these images are captured at the moment of ultimate physical tension, the subjects appear strangely still and lifeless against the stark, grey background.




Martlet: old name for swallow.
Hirondelle: French for swallow (Arundel).

Little bird.

Catalan – Ocell; pron. oh-kell(?)
Italian – Uccello; pron. oo-kell-oh(?)
Occitan – Aucèl.
Old French – Oisel / Oiselet; pron. oa-ze-lei


Xoriguera is a place name from North Catalonia (now politically in France) describing a set of high hills around the Canigó (9,300 ft alt.) and meaning “abundant in xoriguers”, where xoriguer is the falconid known in English as kestrel (from Old French cresserelle, ultimately from Latin crepitaculum). Xoriguer itself means “mouse-eater” from Latin soricarius, from Latin sorix = mouse.

– A Word A Day,
AWADmail issue 363