A Small Cowering Thing
I saw it hovering in the distance, a trim and pinioned harrier
stalling in mid-flight, almost loitering,
carrying out aerial reconnaissance in lordly indifferent leisure
(yet bird-alert, genetic with intent), and reconnoitering
the terrain that rolled away beneath its hanging there
in level slabs of icy light and deckle-flecked leaf-shed shade,
slice like a kid’s model glider
in strictly-plotted arcs of eliding mathematical certitude.
And oh! how it rose then, abrupt in updraft, as if on a swing
or swift and aquiline as a Frisbee; floated; and dropped
slow and deliberate and soundless as a plumbline in water
to fathom its shadow.
And a small cowering thing
huddling in that solemn hush of darkness stopped
to cry out its astonishment as if it could, or mattered.
by David Solway
from Canadian Poetry Online