What I wanted was a goshawk on my wrist, A docile bit of wilderness in my care. Her setting-sun red eye returned my stare. Inside the cage I am a nurse, waiter, And janitor. Outside, an austringer. I searched for one all day in the forest. Now Chiefly poet. Now Shakes. Now sing. Now rare. I searched for one all day in the forest So I could cross the bird off my life-list. At the Center I fed her as you hold this Poem - at a reading distance. The flared Warning of her red eyes refuted my stare: You will never cross me off your life-list. Now Chiefly poet. Now Shakes. Now sing. Now rare. You wanted a little bit of wilderness Held docile on your wrist. What could be tamer Than extinct? At the trail head, the profiled picture. If you see this bird, call our 800 number. Because except what you allow me there Is no wilderness, there is no wilderness. Now Chiefly poet. Now Shakes. Now sing. Now rare. "Raptor" is a collection of formal poems and measured free verse unified by its investigation of our poetic, mythic, and scientific fascination with birds of prey: hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, and falcons.
Drawing on his own experience working at a raptor rehabilitation center, along with sources ranging from medieval texts on falconry to the latest conservation studies of raptor anatomy and habitat, Andrew Feld shows these killing birds to be mirrors for humanity and highly charged figures for the intersection of that which we call "wild" and that which we think of as domesticated - and how these opposed terms apply to the imperiled natural world, human social relations, and our most private, interior selves. In these poems, Feld does not shy away from either the damaging world or "the new, more comprehensive view / damage affords" in its aftermath.