The falcon is directed by an arm,
flies into the sky and does not return.
The falconer stands astonished,
dangling the leather hood. A little
wine, some mild laughing, and the king
forgets, but the falconer lies in bed
staring at the ceiling or the plate
of stars at the bare window.
Then in the dark there is a sound,
and the bird has returned to him,
knowing the way by night, flying in
to the falconer’s chamber. Proud
as a cat it drops the prey: a debt.
It looks at the man with one eye,
speaks in one of the falcon
dialects, unable to express
where it has been as it toured the sky.
Did it follow above the lake,
the village, forest and mountain?
Does it recall
By night a forgotten name
will rise to the unfortunate
who stood there silent and foolish
by day. The falcon knows the falconer
with both its eyes. Like memory, it
returned when it was expected.
Like memory it is a weight on the arm,
missed sorely when it is missing.
--Laura Jensen from Memory.