This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Monday, January 17, 2005

Winter Hawk

Another exercise in the sonnet form, this time Shakespearian.

Winter Hawk

A high-perched hawk's unblinking winter gaze
Patrols with sentry eye the ditch and hedge
Where nervous darting mice traverse their maze,
Doomed soldiers of the Somme by forest edge.
An early thaw has called him north too soon;
Against the sullen light upon his wire
He spends a coldly patient afternoon
As mouse awaits the fate of talons dire.
How many times the hawk has northward flown
Slow gliding gyres of flared dihedral flight
To perch upon the forest bishop's throne
Presiding mass in slant cathedral light.
Around the pivot wheel of live and die
The seasons turn as banks the hawk on high.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


Powerful martial imagery in the first eight lines -- a strong visual image harking back to WWI trenches -- then switching surprisingly and effectively to images of religious worship. Put together, the two images create an antique European atmosphere, well in tune with the wintry landscape and the relative absence (except for the wire) of modern technology. And the final couplet brings together the eternal back-and-forth between the two prevailing images, war and peace, life and death -- and which will be the hawk's lot?

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