Birds of Gods and Kings

in a black and white blur
their scimitar wings soar
they vent their haunting hunting call
circling high in the sky
with sharp falcon eyes
tail feathers clenched before the fall
gauntlets of leather
and jesses to tether
hoods and bells that ring
legendary birds
untameable with words
they answer only to gods and kings

Kim M. Russell, 6th July 2019

Chernobog & Belobog
@anarh1a
Used With Permission

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Art FLASH/55

Kerry is back with another art collaboration, this time with an ink and watercolour illustrator from Russia., Anarh1a, who has given permission for us to use her beautiful piece ‘Chernobog and Belobog’, which is part of a series the artist completed on Slavic gods, depicting the Myth of Creation.

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26 thoughts on “Birds of Gods and Kings

    1. Thank you so much, Kerry! We have peregrine falcons resident at Norwich Cathedral and, whenever I’m in the city, I try to spot them. We get a few birds of prey around the countryside here, but I can’t identify what they are as they are so high in the sky. We also have someone not far from here who rescues and trains birds: falcons, owls etc, and I have seen a demonstration, although I’m not happy that birds are tethered and caged – they are such wonderful creatures.

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      1. We also have a bird rescue centre which offers demonstrations. The handler answered a question: What if they fly away and don’t come back? He said, We consider them successfully released back into the wild! Birds should be free.

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  1. I love how you went all in the the falconry images… they are such impressive birds… and I can really see them diving.

    I would love to see more raptors, but they are so rare. Earlier this spring I was lucky enough to see a red-footed falcon which is a real rarity here.

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  2. This is gorgeously rendered, Kim! ❤ I love how closely you capture their characteristics with “untameable with words they answer only to gods and kings.” 😊

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  3. About 10 years ago, some well-meaning city director brought in falcons to help control the pidgeon population downtown. Well, the falcons thrived in the city, nesting on building buildings high up. Only thing, sometime you would be walking and plop! a hot plop on your cheek or clothing – blood from where the falcons would grab a pidgeon and …. well you know the rest. Still they are magnificent birds and have quite a following in the higher buidlings down town, especially during mating and nesting seasons. One company had wire baskets contructed to hold the nests and keep the eggs from rolling and the babies from falling. there are about twenty of them on this particular building up on the last 15 and 16th floors. You see them now out in the county. Which has caused me to construct my bluebird houses among the bushes where they can be safe. Hearing their wailing as they are sitting their nests is quite stupendous. There was the beginning of a falconry club but it soon died out as people preferred the raptors to fly free, thank goodness.

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    1. I’m not sure I like the idea of bringing birds of prey into a city. The peregrine falcons that nest on Norwich Cathedral arrived of their own accord. It must be horrendous to witness them slaughtering pigeons – I rather like pigeons!

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  4. I want to read this one at the top of my voice. You captured the expression of the birds in the drawing so well. And your description speaks pure truth about the real hunter.

    And because you, too, are a lover of Terry Pratchett’s writing, I must say that Hodgesaargh, Lancre Castle’s resident falconer, would probably weep with joy if he ever read this one.

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