A hunting falcon flies off into the safety of a forest, while nearby the sounds of battle fill the air.
Tiercel was inspired by the tenth-century poem The Battle of Maldon, which describes a clash between the English and a Danish raiding party from the English point of view. The poem combines a sense of fatefulness, honour and martial bravery that is typical of poetry of the time, but told in a justly celebrated elevated language that comes through even in the translations to modern English that I have read.
I was particularly taken by the beginning of the poem, in which the warriors give their horses and hawks their freedom before joining battle. The "beloved hawk", flying to the wood, was the starting point for my own poem, which describes the ensuing battle from the bird’s point of view.
Good material on the original poem and its historical setting can be found here.
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