Falcon Tornado


North Lookout Owl

When I reached North Lookout of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on September 6, 2016, Rudy Keller told me that earlier five kestrels had been diving at the owl pole. He said, “You could hear the sound of their wings ‘whoosh.'” Another hawk watcher referred to it as a “tornado of kestrels.” That evening, the Sanctuary’s daily report included this note: “Several American kestrels and merlins spent 30 minutes diving at the Owl Pole and then chased each other.” These observations inspired me to write the poem “Falcon Tornado,” in which the owl is speaking. 

 I am the Owl at Lookout North.

Early one morning five kestrels danced round,
From each feathered wing came a whistling sound;
Like swimmers in sync, they swiped at my side
In a vain attempt to force me to hide.

Then a fast falcon, a merlin by name,
Dove and chased kestrels away from their game.
And this bold merlin, preferring me dead,
Targeted talons aimed straight at my head.

Throughout the twirling falcon tornado
I twitched neither eye, nor ear, nor a toe,
But sat in silence — serenely still —
Calmly assure they could do me no ill.

I am the Owl at Lookout North.

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