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Hawk

This morning
the hawk
rose up
out of the meadow’s browse

and swung over the lake—
it settled
on the small black dome
of a dead pine,

alert as an admiral,
its profile
distinguished with sideburns
the color of smoke,

and I said: remember
this is not something
of the red fire, this is
heaven’s fistful

of death and destruction,
and the hawk hooked
one exquisite foot
onto a last twig

to look deeper
into the yellow reeds
along the edges of the water
and I said: remember

the tree, the cave,
the white lily of resurrection,
and that’s when it simply lifted
its golden feet and floated

into the wind, belly-first,
and then it cruised along the lake—
all the time its eyes fastened
harder than love on some

unimportant rustling in the
yellow reeds—and then it
seemed to crouch high in the air, and then it
turned into a white blade, which fell.

—Mary Oliver
                      Owls and Other Fantasies