The sparrowhawk

Daniel Greenwood

It lurks in the broadleaf
woods around my home,
in the mature oaks of
hilltop gardens

its scathing yellow eye
pierces the darkness of
sycamore shade,
the shrill cry of its

young can be heard
above the canopy of
concrete parkland.
I’ve seen it chasing

green parrots over the clearing,
I’ve seen it sitting in the bare
branches of an ash
back turned, brooding.

I’ve seen it over breakfast,
a long steady glide
as a speck to the
shape of the garden.

I’ve seen two young
birds playing, boasting
of flight in a still
verdant autumn.

Today I watched
its tail feathers fanned
out from my kitchen table.

And in the afternoon,
in the freezing frost-
covered wood we inspected
a headless blackbird

lying in sycamore leaf
litter, the Christmas red
of its innards exposed.

All hail
the sparrowhawk.

From I am living with the animals
Selected Poems by Daniel Greenwood
Reproduced with the permission of the author.