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Coopers' Hawk Caught in the Library of Congress
                                         Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, Jan. 2011
by Daniel Williams

This too a living book
this young Coopers' Hawk describing
the rotunda ceiling of the Jefferson Reading Room
with its flight   gray and white and lovely power
swooping and sweeping below gold and white
fanned seashells 24 carat cornices moldings
of American federalist rococo

A huge surprise to find something so primal
an accipiter whose wing shape has flown
all the way from the Jurassic whose ruby eyes
stare down at all those colors in neat rows
the blue of Spinoza green of Locke
leather tan tomes of Shakespeare and all
of Jefferson's journal in yellowed array

It will take two starlings used as bait
to deliver this predator her freedom
a simple idea  ‐appetite as lever‐
BF Skinner winks from his shelf
while the bird back paddles down
and settles above humanity at its cleverest
all our hide bound cursive
composed of millions of words
collected over the last two hundred years

Our own survival may depend upon this
captive hawk's escape
we think and we write
and yet sit helpless to save ourselves
this hawk teaches us a simple lesson
sensing our cruel and gilded cage
she responds with power and grace
the hunting of prey and then a need for
pine forests for the clear space of
horizon-less skies

We can only hope she will carry us
far away from all stultifying thought
into the full meaning of moonlight
and heartbeat to the joy and scurry
of those newly released wings in the air
and away from no matter how many and
what kind those entombed tomes of wisdom


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