Post-weekend Poetry 121: In need of Witness Protection from a Sparrowhawk by Marie H Curran

MarieWelcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and twenty-first poem in this series. This week’s piece is by Marie H Curran.

In need of Witness Protection from a Sparrowhawk © Marie H Curran

Yesterday at approximately 4.45pm
I witnessed an attempted mass murder.

Above my head house martins danced on their stage of clouds.
To my right, a wagtail moseyed his way along my front wall
and in front of me, ten or more birds bounced between
my peanut feeder and their favourite summer greened tree.

Then, from the field to my left, he swooped.
The small birds ran to their tree
his beak aimed down their middle.
The branches lifted, he moved under cover
and away from my eyes, screeches, tussles ensued.

Additional screeches carried from neighbouring trees
and then, he reappeared.
Pointing my sun glasses toward him I searched his beak.

I looked back to the tree.
Time changed hands.

A young farmer peddeled his way up the road.
A pick axe dangling from the back of his bike.
The house martins reappeared, kites without strings,
rising higher and higher until they looked like bullets.
A crow stopped at the empty peanut feeder,
no birds, no dropped peanuts.
He moved on.

Then, one lone bird appeared from beneath green foliage
and flew toward the hill, away from the attempted massacre.
Then, slowly, bird by bird, the tree uncurled itself.


I asked Marie what prompted this piece and she said…

Over the past two years, I’ve developed a habit, watching the seasons drift from my garden bench. My addiction has become so excessive, I can be found during late autumn and winter, wrapped in a hat, scarf and coat, more layers than the most exuberant wedding cake. The bench has gifted me blooming flowers, mating hares, a family of pheasants who use my front garden as a short cut between two fields and of course my small garden birds who glide and bounce onto their peanut feeder daily. My summer observatory also spies three families of house martins over from Africa on vacation, who share the gable end of my home annually. Observing is what I do! I love to watch, think, listen and just be. There is nothing more soothing than the sound of my silent body wrapped in natures chorus. Luckily, because I sit as still as I do, a wagtail enjoys propping himself beside my bench daily. The house martins enjoy swopping just above my head, their white bellies grazing my eyes. And then, occasionally nature throws me an obscure treat. Such as the one I enjoyed on Wednesday, June 11th 2014. A day I will forever remember, when from my left, a sparrowhawk astutely set his wings into flight and aimed his beak toward a feast of small garden birds….

Thank you, Marie. What a lovely image.


Observant Observing's - eBookCoverMarie Hanna Curran holds a degree in Equine Science from the University of Limerick, Ireland and lives in rural Galway with her husband and many wild birds. Due to illness she is currently housebound, however, ME/CFS doesn’t stop her writing. She believes writing is soul food and such food must be shared. Two of her poems appeared in The Galway Review and seven pieces of work weaved their way between the pages of the published anthology: Poems from Conflicted Hearts (Tayen Lane Publishing 2014). Her articles concerning illness and anti-bullying were published in Irish Newspapers and her feature against bullying was read on radio. She also enjoys keeping her blog where she shares poetry and promotes ME awareness. To date, varying blog posts have appeared in online ME/CFS journals. You can find out more about Marie and her poetry from her website: and blog:


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