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I was inspired to write this poem after seeing a bird of prey a male Hen Harrier in flight and hunting on a Staffordshire Moorland landscape. It was a cold and windy late afternoon and this bird appeared, hunting for a while before going to roost on the heather moor itself. It was a moment of beauty but also a moment for reflection on a raptor at risk of persecution.

These Sweet Souls

Pz-avatarby Dean Powell10 Jul 2013

Small birds, Red Grouse, scurrying mammals and
Short eared owls frequent the heather moorland.
Red deer emerge at dusk from a nearby coppice.
A Merlin plucks its prey here when winter has gone.
For now I sense snow in the days to come. The cold
Penetrates the core of my soul while the sun
Prepares to shine on the other side of the world.

Sitting, watching, listening, and waiting, my mind
Drifts unlocking tangled thoughts. I am a member of
The web of life, solitary, alone on the moor while
Myriads of my species are controlled by clocks, hours
And minutes. They are far from where I am, far from
My mind, my soul, my feelings, far from this wild land.

The wind pounds leafless trees of the moor, the
Heather buffeted by timeless energy, a rage against
My face, my body calming my spirit world
Within. I am connected, I am immersed in nature.

Individuals in wild isolation, the Long-tailed tit cling
To branches of a tree of hope, looking for shelter,
A home for the night. As quickly as they appear they
Are gone on the wind. There have been better days
When quiet and stillness have prevailed. Good luck
My Friends.

Hen Harrier, long wings, long tail, low flight, and
Wings raised moving with quiet continuous motion,
Wondering this open country. A hunter, a male, a
Predator, searching out prey, quartering, hoping,
Then surprise, drops to the ground, pouncing, out
Of sight. Oh what a joy as this bird rises on the
Air with impressive quality gliding on the wind
Between the wing beats of its soul.

Yet this bird of hills, moor and heath is not free, not
Free to live life on the wing, its family of former
Sentient beings, its ancestors slaughtered by human
Hand. Before I am gone will these sweet souls of
Animate Earth still be here, in peace, free of risk
From my species. Will this bird be safe on this
Moor, in other wild places?

For this bird the time has come to roost, to survive
The rigours of a cold harsh night. Twilight then
Darkness takes hold of the moor just as the cold
Takes hold of me. The light fades beyond the high
Hills to the west until no more.