Letter To Jeffers / The Gift

Rewritten . . . and thanks to Jim who "has seen too many miracles."




I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk.

     Robinson Jeffers, "The Hurt Hawks" 




I learned my love of hawks from you, long before

I ever saw one; how it is their nature to come and go

As we stay, the arcs of their passages rippling farther

And deeper away over your cliffs or here like the long

Moments when stones fall from my stream's sheer

Slopes and sink slowly into the summer-still water,

But for three days now I have heard one hawk's cry

Unmoving from the same small hilly stand of oak

And evergreen, and walking this morning I find it

Perched on a low-leaning pine bough winter wind

And ice had bowed but could not break. And at

My coming its cry changes to something both more

And less than a hawk's usual defiant hunger,

Though all it can do is lurch to the next limb.

It is hurt in some way I cannot see and its fear

Is something it doesn't understand who has

Never known it before.

                                                       In the end, when

Your own hurt hawk had nothing left but unable

Misery you gave him the lead gift, and once I too,

Having learned from you, would have done no less.

But here and now, with all these years between us,

You ask of me a judgment I can no longer make,

Having come here then hurt too and having seen

Too many miracles not to believe that life is always

The possibility of healing, and death not mine to give.

Poetry by countryfog
Read 507 times
Written on 2013-08-01 at 19:35

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Very complex and profound thoughts here. A hurt hawk is still a beautiful creature and should not be defined solely by its suffering. In its suffering we see reflected our own.

Perhaps it's right and good to put a hawk or horse 'out of its misery,' but I think such decisions are grave and serious because they are irreversible. Taking another being's life is not a small matter. Perhaps the hawk will recover. I too have seen miracles that are, though not as flashy as the Biblical kind, astound me and make me understand that I know so very little about anything much.

Rob sees this as an affirmation of life. I see it very differently, as an acknowledgement of our soul's (or psyche's) fragility, that age brings sensitivity, so much so that making judgement, life or death, becomes impossible. One can only observe, and feel pain, and walk on.

Rob Graber
What a stark, austere affirmation of life... Amazing! Bravo!