It was cold and crisp this morning, and I was looking for a little magic to begin the day, when my wife spotted this Cooper's hawk on one of the high limbs of a tree behind our house. I've seen him in our neighborhood before, but he has never allowed me to get very close. Today, however, was different. He seemed to enjoy my company as much as I did his. On the other hand, he was probably thinking more like a hawk in search of food than a man in search of companionship. As the poet Ted Hughes reminds us in the poem below, one cannot really understand a hawk unless you see the world from the hawk's vantage point. Unlike humans, the hawk has no "falsifying dream." There is "no sophistry" in its body, and the path of its flight is always "direct."
by Ted Hughes
I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.
The convenience of the high trees!
The air's bouyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.
My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot
Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -
The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:
The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.