An eagle with a span of seven feet
Gripped on a rock near where children splashed.
While parents watched, they paddled, splished and dashed.
The eagle watched. Its image broad and sweet.
In ancient totems we are told such birds
Enfold the souls and secrets of an age;
And if we’re calm and quiet, all that’s sage
Can come to us from them beyond mere words.
But noble birds of earth may hang around
And with stiletto sight incise a child –
Who bathes in human flesh and may seem wild –
And pick this plump small human off the ground.
For being of this earthy, blood-flushed base,
An eagle’s feeding instincts turn to mob,
Can drug it with its old survival job
Of kill to eat and eat to stay in place.
Or if it could repress that primal need,
Be sensitive to human feelings there,
There’d be another visc’ral pull-down there
Tantamount to essence for its breed.
A bird of prey is not a bird of prayer.
If it could cultivate, adjust itself,
Become a higher version of itself,
What we may call ‘attachment’ would still flare.
As humans strive to slip this earthly sleave,
To rise up, beasts must burn through good and bad.
But animals are ringed by claw and pad,
And like base humans must return to leave.
Maybe its mind could sense the higher cores
Within these beings it’s seen kill and maim
And so not smash the young-and-parent game.
Or did it heard their splashing as applause,
Before it bowed in air with wings like oars?