California Saga: The Beaks Of Eagles

An eagle’s nest on the head of an old redwood 
On one of the precipice-footed ridges above Ventana Creek
That jagged country which nothing but a fallen meteor will ever plow
No horseman will ever ride there
And no hunter had cross this ridge but the winged ones
No one will steal the eggs from this fortress

The she-eagle is old, her mate was shot long ago
She is now mated with a son of hers
When lightning blasted her nest she built it again on the same tree
In the splinters of the thunder bolt

In a broken shack an old man takes his time about dyin’
And just at the back a wild flowerbed that he’ll lie in
In dawn’s new light a man might venture
A horse drawn stage from Monterey

The she-eagle is older than I, she was here when the fires
Of eighty-five raged on these ridges
She was lately fledged and dared not hunt ahead of them 
But ate scorched meat

The world has changed in her time
Humanity has multiplied, but not here
Men’s hopes and thoughts and customs have changed
Their powers are enlarged
Their powers and their follies have become fantastic

Spilled down the hill a wagon load of bodies lay scattered
Shipwrecked at sea, limestone ore is all that mattered
They took it from the hills right in through the cargo doors
And how many ships have come and gone at Thurso’s landing shore?

The unstable animal never has been changed so rapidly
The motor and the plane and the great war have gone over him
And Lenin has lived and Jehovah died
While the mother-eagle hunts the same hills
Crying the same beautiful and lonely cry

And is never tired, dreams the same dreams
And hears at night the rock-slides rattle and thunder 
In the throats of these living mountains

It is good for man to try all changes
Progress and corruption, powers, peace and anguish
Not to go down the dinosaur’s way

Until all his capacities have been explored and it is good for him
To know that his needs and nature are no more changed, in fact
In ten thousand years than the beaks of eagles

Of the eagle’s plight, we know that nature’s balance is undone
And it’s the birthright of man to unify and live his life as one
A whisper of the word will let you soar with your soul

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