(1826-1864 / United States)

Windhover

Aloof, unnoticed, silent, still as death
You hover, as fleets of traffic pass;
Below, unshielded, voles and mice hold breath
And fear, awaiting deadly daggered grasp.

Alert, unarmoured avian bazooka,
You survey, feathered sinewed steel
Bedecked, unbending softness, yet crueller
And choose, radarless, to go in for the kill.

Aloft, unrotored, when wing engines cut;
You plummet, scenting rodent blood,
Beneath, unprepared sinks victim’s gut
And pounce, pinioned, in seizing, silent thud.

Adept, untutored carrion thieves between
You despise: crows steal as wastrels.
Bespoke, unmechanised killing machine
And named, windhover verge-chief falcon: kestrel.

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