The Friday Poem on 09/07/21
‘Flying the Lanner’ is an unpublished poem from Tony Curtis’ forthcoming collection, Leaving the Hills. We chose it for its assured and confident voice, and the way it paints such a clear and unflinching picture of the falcon in captivity, from the its diet of day-old chicks to the gift of ‘hoodwinked’ in the last line. It’s a poem that fires on all cylinders, with its own exquisite patterning and precise engineering, and we are thrilled to have it.
Flying the Lanner
A ball of clawed and beaked fluff in the cage:
first she must walk
and then run
and then learn to fly
but only to Griff, who is her mother
and the only mother she will ever know.
There is no love lost
for Griff’s voice and whistle mean food –
day-old chicks, yellow and fresh and soft –
a gloved banquet until she is fed up
and needs to do no more.
Griff’s love is real, an arm’s length love,
an arm-long perch she’ll fly to,
land on, ride on claw-tight.
All this is to come; first she’ll cast her fluff and grow,
stiffen her bones and press out her wings:
the most exquisite patterning, the most precise
engineering. She’ll scuttle
across the grass after him, blink
at the endless sky, follow that chick smell,
until she’s ready for him to fly her.
Then the cast of the lure, the widening gyre
the soft flesh and early bones,
as her reward. She’ll bounce her weight
on his arm, grip the glove,
safe in her hoodwinked love.