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Mark Thalman


Emerging from mist, two field hawks
make a slow circular descent
as though sliding down
a spiral staircase.

Instead of riding thermals or hunting mice,
they glide lower than tree tops,
calling to each other,
sinking steadily to eye level.

Wheeling about me, they move gracefully
on opposite sides of the circle.
As in a trance, my golden retriever
is riveted to their orbits and neglects to bark.

Revolving around us, the red-tails
gradually begin to circle higher,
ascending like souls,
until they vanish into fog.

The strength of their wings sweeping the air is gone,
but burns clear in my memory.
The glint of sky reflecting in their eyes.
The light sifting from heaven.

This poem first appeared in Many Mountains Moving.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Mark Thalman lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he has taught 7th grade English for almost thirty years.  His poetry has been widely published in small presses, college reviews, anthologies, and e-zines for the last three decades. His book, Catching the Limit, was published by Bedbug Press - Fairweather Books as part of their Northwest Poetry Series. Mark has served as a Poet-in-the-Schools for the Oregon Arts Commission, Assistant Poetry Editor for the Northwest Review, and board member of the Portland Poetry Festival. He is also an artist who enjoys painting wildlife scenes with acrylics. His two Golden Retrievers, pictured above, are named Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. To learn more about Mark, visit To purchase Catching the Limit, click on the book cover and contact Mark via his email address.




Post New Comment:
Jane Shlensky:
I love it, Mark. For a couple of months now, a juvenal redtail hawk has taken up residence in my yard, learning to hunt and soar. Every time I see him and mark his progress, I feel joy and blessing, just as your poem so beautifully suggests. Nice work. Jane
Posted 08/12/2011 06:18 PM
Congratulations, Mark. This is really fine. I especially like the line "ascending like souls." I am a watcher of red tail hawks, too, and you have certainly captured them here in your poem. Grace Chappell
Posted 08/12/2011 01:55 PM
I could see it, feel it, I loved it ~ Judy
Posted 08/12/2011 01:05 PM
Linda Lee (Konichek):
Perfect,Mark; I have this show at the farm every evening just outside our back door, and our dogs often share it in similar manner. Love the movement of your images. Thank you.
Posted 08/12/2011 10:52 AM
Mark, I am a dedicated follower of your poems. I highly recommend your book. The reader will ascend like those hawks. Mary Jo
Posted 08/12/2011 10:24 AM
Carol Hauer:
"ascending like souls" "as though sliding down a spiral staircase"... What wonderful comparisons. I loved those images. Thank you. I will think of this poem whenever I see hawks in flight.
Posted 08/12/2011 09:56 AM
Glen Sorestad:
Beautifully done, Mark. Another gem inspired by our endless fascination with birds and flight.
Posted 08/12/2011 09:22 AM
Ginny C.:
very beautiful poem--thanks for sharing it here
Posted 08/12/2011 09:16 AM

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