The Kestrel’s Cry - Richard Jefferies Reimagined #9
A new setting for an old favourite haiku 1 of mine about the Kestrel, inspired by a passage from the writings of Richard Jefferies ...
a light breeze
sweeping the hill
a kestrel’s cry
[…] “Presently a small swift shadow passes across—it is that of a hawk flying low over the hill. He skirts it for some distance, and then shoots out into the air, comes back half-way, and hangs over the fallow below, where there is a small rick. His wings vibrate, striking the air downwards, and only slightly backwards, the tail depressed counteracting the inclination to glide forwards for awhile. In a few moments he slips, as it were, from his balance, but brings, himself up again in a few yards, turning a curve so as to still hover above the rick.” […]
Wild Life in a Southern County (1879)
Written while rambling over the South Downs in Sussex, Richard Jefferies would have been reminded of the walks he took over the chalk downs of his native Wiltshire. Would he have known the white horses in the Vale of the White Horse and surrounding areas. Uffington almost certainly. The white horse at Westbury I doubt. But it was the white horse of my childhood ... I grew up with it and must have first sat on its back around 1956. It’s the largest and most imposing. By standing on tiptoe, I could just see it, from my parents bedroom window. You can read more about their history here ...
The header image is from a watercolour of the Westbury White Horse (1939) by Eric Ravilious.
Eric William Ravilious (22 July 1903 – 2 September 1942) was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He grew up in East Sussex, and is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landscapes, which examine English landscape and vernacular art with an off-kilter, modernist sensibility and clarity. He served as a war artist, and died when the aircraft he was in was lost off Iceland.
The recording by Jarek Matusiak is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto a website dedicated to sharing bird sounds from all over the world.