Thursday, 17 March 2022

Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks to Ruth at the blog There Is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town for hosting this week’s list of poetry links and posts.

I’m always happy when a poem written  years ago finds a home with a journal or anthology.

Back in winter 2011, when my children were still children, a hawk made a few visits to our backyard swingset. It was always an event, but especially that January, after a snowfall.

The poem is true to what happened that morning, and my feelings about it. But until last year “Hawk” remained unpublished.


I’m so glad that it appears–along with two other poems of mine–in Bay to Ocean Journal 2021 (from the Eastern Shore Writers Association). I have one copy of the journal to give away. Leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the book at random. (U.S. only please.)

By Laura Shovan

It is young, feathers puffed against the cold,
standing on the old swing set’s beam,
talons deep in last night’s snow.

We crowd the back door, take turns
with binoculars meant for star gazing.
The children get bored, return to breakfast

while I look and look. The bird’s eyes
are goofy with surprise. It can’t figure out
how it came to our yard, why it’s perched

on a dilapidated a swing set. It stares at our house
as if it knew this place once.
It looks confused, the way we all do,

finding ourselves in an undignified moment.
The hawk raises one yellow claw
places it deep in snow, swoops away.

The children pack for school and are gone.
When I stop and hold still, I get a little dizzy
from the suddenness of it.

Read more about the Red Tailed Hawk at Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources website.


25 responses to “Poetry Friday: Hawk (+ Giveaway!)”

  1. Rose Cappelli says:

    Thank you, Laura! I love the way your poem juxtaposes your reaction to the hawk with your children’s. I chuckled at the line “It looks confused, the way we all do, finding ourselves in an undignified moment.” Congratulations on the publication!

  2. I think you captured the gestures and movement of a hawk visiting a human-modified space really well. My husband is a falconer and a master birder so we have had many hawks in our backyard(s). Though we haven’t kept a hawk in years, being that close to them, tending them, working with them, and watching them kill (be wild) was an amazing experience for all of us. No matter how accustomed to us they became, it was obvious they would never be tame. There is something profound and perfect in that.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Wow, Marilyn. That’s fascinating about your husband being a falconer. I’d love to hear more about his work and yours with those birds. Thanks for visiting the blog today.

  3. Ruth says:

    I love this — thank you for sharing it! I’m glad your poem found a home!

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Remember, I won the last one, Laura, & found your wonderful hawk, “goofy with surprise’!

  5. Congratulations on getting this finally published. How gratifying! I love the juxtaposition of the hawk with your children whisking themselves away so suddenly, in a “dizzying” way. So many things come and go, which sounds obvious, but those are the kind of moments life is made of.

  6. Gail Aldous says:

    Laura, congratulation getting your Hawk poem published! I’m happy for you! I love birds, therefore, your first line of your poem hooked me. I love how vivid your images are because I can see each image play out like a short movie. I especially love when you write about the hawk’s thoughts “It can’t figure out/how it came to our yard,” and “It stares at our house/as if it knew this place once. It looks confused, the way we all do, finding ourselves in an undignified moment.” Thank you for the link about red tailed hawks. I’ve seen many perched in a tree along state highways and I’ve noticed a few high in our oak trees probably looking for chipmunks. I love the photos of your hawk, also.

    I couldn’t find the spot to sign up for your blog; I would like to follow your blog. I did see how to follow you on Twitter and Goodreads. I haven’t attempted Twitter, yet.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Gail. I appreciate your comments, especially that the images in the poem were so clear in your mind. Though I’m not an expert, I’m pretty sure this was a juvenile red-tailed hawk.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a blog sign up! However, I usually share a notice on Facebook when I have a new post.

  7. Linda Mitchell says:

    “I get a little dizzy” is such a perfect line in this poem…really makes it pop. Thanks for this and for, “binoculars meant for star gazing.” I just know I’m going to do something with those binoculars.

  8. Mary Lee says:

    That hawk gave you a fabulous poem! I love
    “The bird’s eyes
    are goofy with surprise.”
    and that turn where you get dizzy from the suddenness…of both hawks and children…so perfect.

    I have been a winner in one of your giveaways recently, so set my name aside.

  9. Oh, I love this, Laura! So glad this beautiful poem found a home!

  10. jama says:

    Congrats on publishing this wonderful poem. Spying a hawk in our yard is always a rare treat. Love how you captured that special moment — it’s always a little startling and fascinating at the same time.

  11. How wonderful that you captured a shared moment – you, your children, and the hawk – each gawking at one another. Congratulations on the publication!

  12. Congrats on your publication! I love this line: “goofy with surprise”

  13. Congrats on the publication of our poem! What a moving out-of-body experience to be that close to the hawk and then your words/phrases capture it all so well! And these lines capture your feelings so well,
    “When I stop and hold still, I get a little dizzy
    from the suddenness of it.”
    I’m still enjoying your “Bay to Ocean 2020” Anthology, so share this new treasure with another, thanks Laura!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

Learn More