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As we leave the slip road and join the flow
north of cosmopolitan wagons,
discounted coaches, fleet cars and the rare,
pre-twenty-first-century vehicle
like ours, we see a buzzard, on a fence post,
still as a cast in the emollient
winter sun. We have travelled this road
a quarter of a century, know
the remains – a single track railway;
sparse English elms in rigor mortis –
stilled sentinels of clearance and enclosure;
ridges and furrows made by feudal
open fields; a gothic hunting tower…

Later, as always, we see Mow Cop Castle –
a Georgian folly, on a hill to the east –
lit briefly by the sunset’s splendour
and hope we are no more than an hour
from home. Turning west, there are purple skies
brimming with hail. When it falls, we slow.
As the pellets shatter on the roof,
we talk loudly of that bird on a post
in a southerly shire.




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • John Chapman
    January 30, 2015

    I too passed a Buzzard recently as it settled beside a country road. A magnificent creature down on its prey. A lorry passed by prompting the bird to take flight perilously across its path but it had gauged the risk and flew safely away meal intact.

    We live in our plane and the other animals live in theirs and we occasionally impinge on each other in one way or another. Ultimately, if humans disappeared they would probably be better off but if they disappeared we, too, would surely follow. We should all be mindful of their importance.

  • John Huddart
    February 26, 2015

    Up here in Northumberland the skies are thick with predators and nature might have to control them with hunger – fortunately buzzards are wily creatures that enjoy roadkill as much as the next man, so the inevitable crop of rabbits, badgers, foxes and pheasants that greet you on each journey are easy meat! I suspect that buzzards sit on posts beside roads because they know upon which side their bread is buttered.

  • David Selzer
    February 27, 2015

    They also, unlike most winged raptors, only require one mean a day.

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