in a narrowing gyre,
a large grey-brown falcon appears
under low clouds in the late afternoon.
Hungry, thirsty, tired from a long flight, his cautious calculated circles
conceal a quiet urgency.
Stretched tendons and burning muscles
are barely able to hold the wings outright and taut.
A small outcropping of granite will have to doósomewhat higher than the
with a nice little overhang,
a good vantage point from which to hunt, a safe haven from predators,
some blessed rest at last.
The landing will be tight,
but a commitment is made,
and down he comes.
He is in desperate need of a place to restóto eat and drinkóand to
Oh, he heard the falconer very well.
The shrill call and the hand motions
were part of the agreement.
"I display my amazing skill and you keep me in comfort."
Only, one time, he no longer wanted to be kept.
Higher and higher he soared,
as a vast world appeared,
expanding beyond each horizonó
All warnings ignored.
Left behind, much lower,
indignant desert birds squawked,
but could not escape their shadows.
What he found confused and disturbed him, though.
The bargain he made with himself
was to be freeó
to swoop into green pastures, and
drink from still watersó
not to disturb the world but to engage itó
He would eat grain,
and carry seeds to far-off places.
More and more, however
each horizon was a mirageó
the air more rankó
the land below devastated and desolateóburnt stubble where there had been
cropsódead fish on the banks of still water.
He dared not landó
could not land, in factó
each scene more threatnening than the lastóstrange clouds off to one side
near Jerusalemóbroken seals lying on bloodied rocks near the isle of
There were no shrill whistles to returnóonly wails and moans.
So on he flewó
on and on.
And now, at last
in stony sleep, he rests,
but there are rumblings still
here on Ararat...