Claude McKay

(15 September 1889 – 22 May 1948 / Clarendon)

Birds Of Prey - Poem by Claude McKay

Their shadow dims the sunshine of our day,
As they go lumbering across the sky,
Squawking in joy of feeling safe on high,
Beating their heavy wings of owlish gray.
They scare the singing birds of earth away
As, greed-impelled, they circle threateningly,
Watching the toilers with malignant eye,
From their exclusive haven--birds of prey.
They swoop down for the spoil in certain might,
And fasten in our bleeding flesh their claws.
They beat us to surrender weak with fright,
And tugging and tearing without let or pause,
They flap their hideous wings in grim delight,
And stuff our gory hearts into their maws.


Comments about Birds Of Prey by Claude McKay

  • Susan Williams (5/17/2017 3:21:00 PM)


    The raptors must eat- -and there is something beautiful as the predator birds fold their wings and dive into the ocean to reap a fish from beneath the surface of the waves... and there is awesome beauty in the eagle riding the currents of the air as he seeks a rabbit to swoop down on and feed to his nestlings, and go out in the evening over the irrigation canals and watch the flurry of night-hawks darting and diving through the clouds of mosquitoes and gnats... I think one has to take into account that the predator needs to eat and while not a pleasant thing to watch, it is part of that trite but true Circle of Life., (Report) Reply

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  • (5/17/2017 12:12:00 PM)


    Not by any means in the same league as Ted Hughes's Hawk in the Rain but a reasonable effort. (Report) Reply

  • Rajesh Thankappan (5/17/2017 11:15:00 AM)


    Sorry to disagree with you Lantz. I enjoyed the rich imagery of the poem. The poem, when read in the human context opens up new vistas of interpretations. (Report) Reply

  • Madhabi Banerjee (5/17/2017 6:23:00 AM)


    beautiful written. i like it. thanks for sharing (Report) Reply

  • Greg Davidson (5/17/2017 4:27:00 AM)


    I like the images, the metaphor... and the poem (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (5/17/2017 4:24:00 AM)


    I agree for once with the poet below. (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (5/17/2017 3:06:00 AM)


    Too facile for my liking. The metaphor of the powerful raptors at the top of the food chain, the end consumers, wielders of might, intimidating and devouring all that is beneath them, is blatant and lacking any complexity. His observation of the natural aspects of the behavior of birds is clumsy at best. It's all contrived without a shred real emotion and blood. Superficial. Pablum for people who cannot contend with more nuanced and deep reflections on life. It's not even good escapism because his imagination is earthbound and mundane. I'll give him credit on the formal achievement, but even so it's one of the clunkiest sonnets I've ever read. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/17/2017 2:55:00 AM)


    Their shadow dims the sunshine! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (5/17/2017 2:16:00 AM)


    a real life poem of the brutality of the kill, heartlessly written about! ...........well penned (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/17/2017 2:07:00 AM)


    Lumbering across the sky... thanks for posting.... (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (5/17/2017 12:48:00 AM)


    Such bold the utterance to identify and illustrate the evils they used to glorify their masculinity. Exposed well. Straight and lucid. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Godfrey Morris (7/22/2012 7:53:00 AM)


    Great imagery..... Great internal truth. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: greed, sunshine, joy, sky



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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