Dogs 2007

CIVILIZED SKIES
(2/10/07)


it's been seven
or eight years
since I've seen
so many
at once

they used
to come in
to hunt and fish
during the winter
before the river
through town
became so developed
and crowded

they love
the tall
angular cottonwoods
along the banks
giving them high
strong branches
excellent vantages
from which
to survey
for prey

this winter
has been colder
than most
and I suppose
that their need for food
far outweighs
their fear
of the city

walking
to the west
of a leafless stand
of those tall trees
I am amazed
to see six
bald eagles
perched near
the tops

I forgot
how truly big
they could be
magnificent indeed
studies in contrast
and superiority
but as I round
their position
to the south
the background shifts
to the large buildings
of downtown Tulsa
and sadly
these stately birds
seem a bit
diminished

I remember
seeing 70 or 80
of these eagles
in one place
when on Kodiak
and even though
they were framed
by frosty mountain ridges
the natural surroundings
seemed to magnify
rather than detract
from their
splendor

here in
northeastern Oklahoma
they are still amazing
but even though
flying free
they seem confined
by the context
of civilization
to a cage
of sooty skies
continual noise
and unnatural
rhythms

suddenly
one launches
toward the east
but quickly veers
from the expressway
across the river
to follow
the run of water
to the north
until reaching
the 21st Street bridge
where it turns again
flying outbound over
the refinery tank yard
and away from
the human
populace

I wish them
a better home
where I may
never
see them
again