Red kites, native to Turkey, Morocco, and parts of Europe, were declared ‘vermin’ by the English crown and hunted nearly to extinction. They were successfully reintroduced to the UK in 1989.
No red kites over the field this morning. However hard I looked, I could not find
A single cresting pair, their high crosses Invisible – as if unpitched from the grass.
No dry swoop, no sounding. No clatter from Morning’s fed sparrows rising in alarm,
No hare’s carcass eaten behind our wall, Nothing astir. No courting on the fell
In curious patterns, no stumbling display Of swift shadows bending above the Wye.
No haunt. No song. Only the heaven’s blue Graceless fire, and then as a ghost pursued
Across a moor, the hunting-horn’s burly Cry
crucify, crucify, crucify.