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Terreson Profile
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Sweet Girl Hawk


Sweet Girl Hawk

Cooper's hawk, the girl in need.
She picked off a white bird in gray light
not quick enough to save itself
from sacred talon and sacred beak.

I watched the whole of the scene.
Forensic evidence indicates an egret.

She came in like an arrow's strike;
this strike through to your middle heart.
Until too late white bird couldn't have
seen sweet hawk's angle of approach.
Then the ground tumble of two birds. An
outcome accomplished beforehand, likely in heaven.
And my tipped wing hawk certain of herself,
a practiced huntress, agile as the moon.

I studied. You might have thought that the
feather whiteness against brown winter grass
was a patch of snow. Only, red of entrail
pointed my senses to blood and flesh;
ripped open blood and flesh of incident prey.

I wonder sometimes what warriors and women
think on at the sight of incident death.

For five hours I watched my winter hawk.
She watched me back in her engorgement.
Precision. Care. The surgical tear that comes
to what I admire the most, noting how
this sweet girl hawk eyes out a white bird's heart.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/13/2013, 3:06 pm
Jan/19/2013, 12:06 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Bernie01 Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


T---


and the poem itself comes like an arrow's strike.

very much enjoyed the language, and the sudden flashes of both imagery and thought:

Forensic evidence indicates an egret.

imagery here:

agile as the moon.


and here:


the
feather whiteness against brown winter grass
was a patch of snow, only, red of entrail
pointed my senses to blood and flesh;


not crazy about this:

I sometimes wonder what warriors and women
wonder at the sight of incidental death.


a strong close:

this sweet girl hawk eye out an egret's heart

 
i think there are four mentions of hawk or Sweet girl hawk...three too many. makes me feel escorted, maybe even manipulated by the poem.

otherwise, elements i like: narrative clarity and speed, purpose and import.

excellent poem.


bernie


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Jan/19/2013, 6:50 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Thanks for reading, Bernie. Will think about the repition(s) you find cumbersome. And, yes, an arrow's strike is how it reads to me too. Objective corelative a surprise, not intended.

Tere
Jan/20/2013, 3:48 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Hi Tere,

This poem itself has a kind of clinical feel to it, which is surprisingly effective. My sense is that there is a least one too many "my sweet girl hawk" references in the poem. I think you can trust the reader more on that score. I was also surprised that you were able to watch the scene for five hours without the hawk's meal being interrupted by scavengers, but that just goes to show I've never watched a hawk eat. I'm wondering about the use of the word "incidental" to modify "death" in the penultimiate stanza. Can the hawk's killing of the egret be classified as incidental? Do hawks eat when they aren't hungry?

Your poem brought to mind another emotionally powerful bird poem:

Detail
by Eamon Grennan

I was watching a robin fly after a finch—the smaller
chirping with excitement, the bigger, its breast blazing, silent
in light-winged earnest chase—when, out of nowhere
over the chimneys and the shivering front gardens,
flashes a sparrowhawk headlong, a light brown burn
scorching the air from which it simply plucks
like a ripe fruit the stopped robin, whose two or three
cheeps of terminal surprise twinkle in the silence
closing over the empty street when the birds have gone
about their business, and I began to understand
how a poem can happen: you have your eye on a small
elusive detail, pursuing its music, when a terrible truth
strikes and your heart cries out, being carried off.

      
Jan/24/2013, 3:35 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Several thoughts come to mind. One has to do with the style you’re using here. “Until too late white bird could not” -- I want to say, “Until too late, the white bird could not.” Or “could not have seen hawk’s angle of approach” -- I want to say, “could not have seen the hawk’s angle of approach.” The absence of those articles seems “forced.” But I like how you began the poem, “Cooper’s hawk, a girl in need.” Excellent condition: That the hawk must hunt in order to survive. It’s not simply a thrill kill, though there may be an element of thrill in it for the hawk.

I agree with Katlin that the “sweet girl hawk” may not be necessary in the final instance.” I have a hard time reconciling “sweet girl” with the tearing and eating of the egret’s heart. After all, this is nature at its most basic, this is the cruel face of nature, and associating it with sweetness strikes me as discordant.
I don’t think the SOB Hemingway would describe nature as sweet. Of course, I’ve been told that Hemingway is no longer relevant in our time with how we view nature. He’s a mastodon. But you may be leaning too much in the opposite direction.
 
“incident pray” may be misplaced. It’s incidental for the observer, but not necessarily for the hawk, though maybe you mean the hawk was hunting and happened upon the prey. Still, it wouldn’t be purely incidental -- as, again, Katlin suggested.
  
The binary set, if it is intended as binary, of warriors and women (I say this partially because women can also be warriors) is a bit too open-ended. It asks too many questions, and it begins by making the question even broader -- perhaps too broad -- by forcing us to wonder if there is a difference in perception and attitude between warriors and women before we even begin to wonder what THEY wonder.

I found myself backing away from the argument or thesis of the poem principally because I see nature as neither sweet nor brutal necessarily but as “necessary.” The animals doubtlessly don’t think in terms of sweet or brutal -- we do -- and so I find myself empathizing equally with the egret as I do with the hungry hawk. That is, if I can empathize at all.

In spite of my crit, and my style comment, I do believe this is a very good poem. My differences appear to be partially differences having to do with how I view nature -- or possibly that I have misread key lines or words in the poem -- and have possibly misunderstood it. Zak

ps -- I did not underline any words in the paragraphs above. The system did it for some reason. The preview shows certain words as underlined; not sure the final copy will -- but if it does it was not intended.

Girl Hawk

Cooper's hawk, a girl in need,
picked off a white bird in gray light
not quick enough to save itself
from talon and beak.

I watched the whole of the scene.
Forensic evidence indicates an egret.

She came in like an arrow's strike;
through to your middle heart.
Until too late white bird could not
have seen hawk's angle of approach.
Then the ground tumble of two birds a
fact already accomplished, in heaven perhaps.
And my sweet girl hawk certain of herself,
a practiced huntress, agile as the moon.

I studied. You might have thought the
feather whiteness against brown winter grass
was a patch of snow, only, red of entrail
pointed my senses to blood and flesh;
ripped apart blood and flesh of incident prey.

I sometimes wonder what warriors and women
wonder at the sight of incidental death.

For five hours I observed my sweet girl hawk
and she observed me back in her engorgement.
Precision. Care. And her surgical cut.
That is what I admire the most, watching
this sweet girl hawk eye out an egret's heart.

Tere
Jan/25/2013, 9:09 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


a female hawk & a sweet girl at that! aiming straight for the middle heart! a practiced huntress - sure of herself - agile as the moon - ripping flesh & blood - eyeing out the egret's heart - precision, care , surgical cut - that's what i admire most about the poem! & the fact that you've mentioned warriors & women in the same breath! there's a kind of 'bloody' irony here but sweet. & the use of sweet adds to the irony. unlike Zak i don't find it discordant at all - that's the law of the jungle - beauty going for the kill does not detract from its own beauty or the beauty of nature.

A tiger in the wild is a gorgeous creature even tho he's a predator & its beauty does not lessen even with its sharp teeth around a deer's throat!

another reason why i'm liking the poem a lot - i've just returned from a trip to a wild life reserve in the north east part of india - called Kaziranga - a fabulous reserve for Rhinos, elephants, wild buffloes, deers, tigers & a host of birds including eagles, egrets etc. it's a huge forest with a number of water bodies so herds of animals & variety of birds. so we witnessed many kills!

i think some lines could be tightened up a wee bit - without losing anything.

for instance i find this a tad awkward:
Until too late white bird could not
have seen hawk's angle of approach.

but could be just me

Jan/28/2013, 5:32 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Funny. I've been thinking: doesn't anyone get the ironic tone employed, especially with the use of repitition and calling a bird of prey a sweet girl? Irony so clear on my ear. Thank you, Queen.

Tere
Jan/28/2013, 10:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


dear tere

you're very welcome!

Please excuse - playing with your lines - esp since it is not for improvement - but for pleasure - the temptation too tempting!


Cooper's hawk, a girl in need,
picked off a white bird

in gray light not quick enough
to save itself from talon and beak.

Forensic evidence indicates
an egret.

She came in like an arrow's strike;
through to your middle heart.

Hawks angle of approach
not visible to white bird

...until too late.

The ground tumble of two birds -
a fact accomplished in heaven.

My sweet girl hawk certain of herself,
a practiced huntress, agile as the moon.
 
Feather whiteness against brown
winter grass like a patch of snow

only, red of entrail,
ripped apart blood and flesh.

I wonder what warriors and women
wonder at the sight of violent death

practiced with precision
care and surgical cut

...what I admire the most

as I observed my sweet girl hawk
eye out an egret's heart

and she observed me back
in her engorgement.


my humble apologies!
Jan/29/2013, 3:05 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


What a fun thing to do, Queen. Think I get your take on the scene. I too love working in couplets. You fine the poem down to its logical statement. Fun thing to see.

Tere
Jan/29/2013, 6:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


dear tere

i'm so glad you acknowledge the fun element!
some poets might not like their poem turned upside down on its head!

i have to admit it was good fun! & thanks for taking it in that spirit!

it is interseting to see how the poem changes quite a bit just by line changes etc.
 
your poem is much more intimate - adresses the readers / involves the readers more is nicely understated - esp the irony bit. there's flair & style in the way you write.

my poem - (ha ha now i'm calling it mine! that's a bit much!) i mean my version of it
is more cut & dried.

anyways i'm intriguied to see how the same poem (all yours of course) can change so much in terms of sounding different just with a different format!

thanks for your kind understanding.
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Katlin Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Hi Tere,

As I commented when you first posted this poem in the Chalkboard and Billboard thread, this is an amazing poem. Emotionally powerful. For me, the irony does come through. Absolutely. It reminds me of how I've felt in the past watching one of my sweet kitty cats playing with a mouse. Cats love the thrill of the chase, as I'm sure you know, and often kill for the sport of it.

In your poem the sweet girl hawk is a girl in need, hungry. That's why I questioned your use of the word incidental. I'm not sure that one word works in the context of an extended metaphor. If you were writing about a sweet girl cat, then I would understand. It may be appropriate here too. I just don't know enough about the hunting and eating habits of hawks to know. But maybe your point is that it doesn't matter? The question about what warriors and women think is a free association the N makes while watching the hawk hunt and eat. Viewed in that light, I can see it.
Jan/30/2013, 10:12 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Queen, that sounds like a very interesting experiment. I hope you choose to go for it. What do you suppose it would speak to, point to? Possibly that form is less neutered than active? Capable of bending not only sound but sense? Likely the case, yes?

Kat, your comment brings to memory something I've known for a long time, long enough to have subsumed it in my ken of things, no longer actually, consciously thinking about it.

The Spanish philosopher, Ortega Y Gassett, was a moral philosopher. The first philosopher, perhaps, to grapple with how mass-society, then a relatively new situation, would form and shape the individual in ways the world had not yet known. He nailed it good too. He wrote a slight work on a deep passion of his, on hunting. I remember clearly one observation he made. He said the hunter does not hunt to kill. He kills in order to hunt. Do you see where I'm going with this? It speaks to the warrior/woman/incidental death coupling. The poem's objective corelative has to be clear. Narrator identifies with his egret. Actual death merely a by-product.

Tere
Jan/31/2013, 7:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


Let me be impolite, comment on my own poem. I do so love when I nail it, nail a poem. A couple of months or so ago I put up a then new poem, a love poem. Comments, I think intended to be complimetary, were to the effect it was a classic Terreson poem and, as such, stylisticly identifiable. I hated that. Thought, oh !@#$, I've become predictable. Once predictable, soon your own cliche or, worse, your own caricature. That is how it is with artists too satisfied with personal style and it amounts to artistic death. That is something I know for certain.

So when in the improv movement, and typing this poem to the screen, I thought: you got to stretch your legs, bucko, can't fall back on what you know. Some 21 days later and able to read the poem with a more detached ear I think I did. I recognize the prosodic elements as my own sure. But I'm closer to putting them all together in the synergistic way. Yes. That is it. I know poets do not pay much attention anymore to matters of prosody. Formalists are kind of like monkeys imitating traditional verse forms, to what advantage I don't know. At the other extreme there are the open-form verse folk who, frankly, operate atonally. I'm in that third camp. Meter, rhythm, musical stress and rest, measurements taking the heart beat into account and to task, the receptive ear, the vital relationship between right sound and reality's sense, this is what matters. Only, do it outside the cage. This is what translates from one's body to another's.

My poem points in my new direction I've been waiting for since my last collection. Sound and sense. Not one over the other.

Tere
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queenfisher Profile
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Re: Sweet Girl Hawk


dear tere

you've every right to be pleased with yourself - nail it you did!

it's a memorable poem that stays

a poem that works on many levels & not an easy write - i would definitly affirm the success of the poem!

would hate to be 'type cast' myself!
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Terreson Profile
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Thank you, Queen. Poem reminds me I need to pull up, refresh my memory on the artistic principles Vasari ennunciated in his study of Renaissance painters.

Tere
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