Falconer

They say he kept a pet fox,
old Morgan the Falconer.
His barn is still here, below the track,
but where's the house?
This isn't only something found in deeds,
named in old wills; it's a memory, too,
of my own - the children leaning
from a window bare of glass, the man
standing in a derelict garden.

Go back a century, and half of another.
Find Morgan here. One falcon
lived in the house. She was quiet enough
when he was near to steady her;
she'd have no truck with his wife.
Claws gripping her rail, she'd stare,
unhooded, with eyes of the wild. The rest,
savage beauties caught to be sold,
native to cliffs by the Pembrokeshire sea,
led their darkened lives caged in a barn,
except when the falconer gave them sight
and flung them each in turn at the sky,
till hunger enticed it down.

So often there comes a hope
to see what was seen, go a tiny step
towards understanding, feel more oneness
than separation. The failure again -
too many changes, too daunting difference.
Patience, patience. Wait. Keep a steady watch.
Out of a turbulent sky, something
riding the gusts of this wind
at the edge of autumn
will stoop to the lure.


from Time Being (Seren, 2009), © Ruth Bidgood 2009, used by permission of the author

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