Howard Firkin
The falconer removes the hood: a simple move
balletic in its meaning: you are free
to dance the skies, to soar, to prey, to be,
to test the other cloud-soft lives, to prove
your being worthy of their blood, your air.
Each bird will take a moment to adjust,
a moment more before it leaves the glove
and trusts its eyes, its teacher, and its love,
and flies. But falcons do, because they must.
The hood is off the moment it’s not there.

It’s time to sally forth. Fare well, but take
advice: the view is better from cloud high.
Good falconers do not make a mistake:
a bird may not return, but all birds fly.