High here on Hawk’s Nest,
No hawks fly tonight;
Songbirds heading south or west or east,
Or where sons and daughters
Have gone for good,
Regain the sky,
Winging up over cottonwood crowns and this hill’s weedy crest
To flutter in mid-flight in front of our eyes.
Barley fields and summer fallow
Far away below Hawk’s Nest,
And wheat fields following section lines as straight as rules,
Land you’ve farmed for forty years or more,
Or for your life, or for yours and your son’s,
Squares of fire in the wind as the sun goes down dying in fiery light,
Hawks have seen the change in it,
Far away below Hawk’s Nest.
For all the talks high on Hawk’s Nest,
Since cavalry bivouacs and arrow’s arcs,
Of hopes for home and our nativeness branding us on our feet,
All that remains here is Hawk’s Nest,
This ship of rest, its mast tips red, and Indian lore
No longer lore nor believed in, Lorna, Les,
And this long hour of last light, Lord, and goodbye.
“Prolegomena,” “Deserted Barn,” and “Hawk’s Nest” by Larry Woiwode were all previously published by North Dakota State University Press and are printed here with kind permission.