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Wednesday, 8 August 2012



An Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) preparing to dive at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It stares intently at prey as it extends its talons. Osprey nests are found throughout the Kennedy Space Center and nearby Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: photo by NASA, 10 June 2004 (NASA)

I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.

-- William Shakespeare: Coriolanus, IV.5

Domination is not a pretty thing
though in the non-human world

natural. Lesser before greater
must make way, and when enters
into the equation the reversible talon
that allows the osprey
to rotate the helpless prey
with great efficiency
as it is consumed, the unarguable
point is made. Power
needs no logic, fair
is not a term
in its vocabulary;
and when threatened
innocence cries out to justice
for mercy, there comes back only
silence upon the thermal currents
of the inexhaustible dominion
of the air.

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Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Table Mountain (Skamania County, Washington): photo by Walter Siegmund, 18 April 2010

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Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Table Mountain (Skamania County, Washington): photo by Walter Siegmund, 18 April 2010

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Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Table Mountain (Skamania County, Washington): photo by Walter Siegmund, 18 April 2010

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Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Bradford Island Viewpoint, Bonneville Dam: photo by Walter Siegmund, 18 April 2010

Osprey with fish, Strand State Beach near Azure Street, Morro Bay, California: photo by Mike Baird, 12 October 2006


Susan Kay Anderson said...

Beautiful cry screech
echoing down
river corridor
the Half Shell
tip tops
to the snag
huge piled nest
white water
that's how we
know them
plus the fish

Susan Kay Anderson said...

My goodness--
working the air
working the water
"fair not a term"
Tom Clark
"for mercy"
Tom Clark
"of the air"



I saw two of them out there above the channel a few mornings ago, wheeling

"silence upon the thermal currents"

"As is the osprey to the fish" --



first silver edge of sun above shadowed
plane of ridge, red-tailed hawk calling
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

were with these, atmosphere
in those things which

horizontal line, enough for
but rather, which can

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
gibbous moon above point across from it

Wooden Boy said...

"Power/ needs no logic", but we sketch out systems, cradle it in legislative arms.

Human dominion is undoubtedly exhaustible; the trouble is, we wear a world out along with our rule.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The fish
without its head
seems out of place
up in the sky
on the branch
with the osprey
curled tongue
eye wild
we say
the sky

TC said...

"Wheeling"; "working the air, working the water" -- this would be the SOP of the Osprey.

'Tis its nature.

The exhaustion and illogic of human dominion, on the other hand -- no such defense.

Shakespeare, that fisher of useful lore, was willing prey to the old wives' (probably not old fishermen's) tale about the fish, seeing the osprey, simply surrendering and rolling over on their backs, belly up, the better to be rapt up and devoured.

Doubtless there are human folk who, in the face of the messengers of human domination, might try that trick, cherishing foolish hopes of mercy, or of being overlooked, or of being spared yet worse pain.

History is over-laden with instance.

But fish are probably less silly.

Ah, but what an amazing machine of boundless rapacity and wheeling flight and deadly skill, the Osprey!

Colouring your mere Blitzkriegs, your Stukas, your Tomahawks and smart bombs, green with rusty envy.

A six foot wingspan, rounded talons, an outer toe that is reversible, so that the prey may be grasped with two toes in front and two behind, and a formidable appetite for fish.

The name derives from Anglo-Norman ospriet and Medieval Latin avis prede "bird of prey," from avis praedæ. Pliny the Elder called this formidable raptor ossifraga, or "bone breaker".

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Amazing bird, concise yet sweeping poem—a killer combo.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Once saw a hawk with a bunny in its claws, lifting o'er--the anguishing pink

Elmo St. Rose said...

somewhere in the burgerking,pizza
hut dominoes mc donald kentucy fried colonel arbys hardees applebees red lobster olive garden sonic wendy's denny's cracker barrel godfather's friendly's

there's a food chain
not as elegant