Poem 11 – The Red Kite & Me

From somewhere in the heavens I hear a mew.
I scan the sky searching for its source
I know she’s there somewhere.
I remember walking in Wales with the school
Amongst mountains and buzzards
And being taunted, teased for saying, ‘I like birds’.
I can still hear them snigger at my riposte
‘But I mean the feathered kind’.
Even Sir smiled to himself
But not so hidden that I did not see.
I blushed.

I spot her, suspended, wings outstretched
Serene in effortless anticipation
Owning her stage, demanding attention
Whilst giving us none.
She’s seen something scurrying below
Total focus on some distant spot.
Now sweeping for her prey, swift and precise
Not a plummet like a stone
Instead a vaulting ballerina
Poise belying the strength within
Leaping with pointed toe and silent grace
Who couldn’t be moved by the sight?

Oh, that I could learn to fly like her!
To be free from barb and piercing wit
Immune from worrying about what others think
To fly without thought or regret
Composed without and within
To soar above whisper and gossip
Held above those petty spears that stab and wound
To strut upon my stage with the natural ease
That comes from inner confidence
My ready pose demanding attention
But not pleading for it, or seeking it out
Sufficient in who I am.

I have always loved birds! Walking today in Lea Valley I spotted a red kite flying above. Once never seen, since their reintroduction, these elegant birds have become frequent visitors. Sitting down to try and capture their essence in verse, I found myself wondering why I always call them ‘she’, and found myself smiling at a teenage memory.


© Ben Quant 2021

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