228mph or, The Falconer

Here’s a poem I wrote for a Teach First poetry slam we held yesterday – mine didn’t end up being performed (although the poem which did was very good) – so I thought it might be nice to blog it instead…

 

Two-Hundred and Twenty-Eight Miles an Hour, or

The Falconer

 

This, he says to his leathery arm, is only a baby.

Perched and alert, the crystalline bird’s eyes

stare through us – all fire and ice. He strokes its beak.

‘What can be the big speed?’ Asks a fledgling English-speaker.

 

He says:

Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour

they dive. The speed of F-1, of guzzling horse-power:

Tiny ragged rockets, missile-beaked,

Vertical talons of glycerine light.

 

But two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

Misjudged, and wings on fences rip.

Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

Mis-timed, and bright claws bruise to blue.

Two hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

These pigeon-bomb airy stealth fighters

Can self-destruct slice on telephone wires.

 

The falconer looks at the horizon, the sky, the past,

and says: It’s never the superstars which last.

 

 

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