With one grey wingbeat
the merlin's humped rush
bore above the steep
ridge of thick sagebrush
of schist and shale sherds
riding the wind's will
hunting for songbirds
through a sudden still
where only noon sun
sang songs in welcome
Then gone, trailing light
off canyon's high hill
fallen out of sight
while the wild sun still
echoed yellow-eyed
the bush sunflower
and radiant sky
swelled to courting airs
a chorus of notes
from chaparral throats
But black-voiced raven
coursed a far ledge
chasing the merlin
up a mortal wedge
of arcs and attack
scaling toward the sun
seeking the bird's back
then entered as one
that blinding domain
and stillness again

© 1997 Jess Morton