The Sparrowhawk

At the end of my garden

I see you perched quietly,

Your orange belly glowing

Like a slowly setting sun.


A dead leaf tumbles across

My unkempt lawn like a ghost;

But you do not even blink,

And I cannot meet your gaze.


You lift your wing to hail me

And I return the greeting,

Before I realise that you were

Just shaking out the cold breeze.


Suddenly you shift your head

Towards an overgrown patch;

A terse movement that conveys

Your disappointment in me.


One day I will cut it down

I mouth to you through the glass,

But I don’t think you hear me;

Or at least you don’t reply.


The phone rings and I answer,

Wrong number and wrong caller;

I return but you are gone,

Out into the dying light.


Running down to the back door,

Hoping to lure you back home;

I see you dance in the dusk,

And I hope it is for me.


A male Sparrowhawk with his kill (Photo Credit: Darkeyedboy).
A male Sparrowhawk with his kill (Photo Credit: Darkeyedboy).


This is a syllabic poem written about the Sparrowhawk, a small bird of prey in the Accipitridae family. The hunting habits of these beautiful creatures (the blue and orange of the males can be especially striking) have often brought them into conflict with humans, especially those who raise game birds or keep racing pigeons. However, as with most wildlife we are far more of a threat to them, than they could ever be to us.

If you would like to find out more about the Sparrowhawk, and in particular how you can help with sightings in the Edinburgh region, then please visit the Edinburgh Hawkwatch website or contact EdinburghSparrowhawk on Twitter.

An audio version of this poem can be heard here.

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