George Floyd and the Hawk

George Floyd and the Hawk

by Jo Doyle                        Ireland                            06.03.2024

Like a black meteorite flashing past the window frame. A quick glance up from the dinner table, where three of us sit wondering what we had just seen. The screech was loud and long, but there was nothing there. We were used to noise in our garden. It was a colourful menagerie of sound. Small yellow tits teeming with expectation. Starlings greased up for a day of titillation. Sonorous blackbirds in pursuit of some titbits of bread or feed or nuts. The fashionable cock pheasant strutting his wares, cocky in his magnificent colours. The poor man’s peacock of the elegant countryside followed meekly by his harem of beige women, alert women, feeding on the grains left for the chicken in the grass, ready to run, the most amusing of runs, at the least sign of trouble.

This is our garden. A fashion show of colour and song, of elegance and wit. Our yellow hedge filled with the yellow birds. The single Robin, opening its tiny beak, puffing out its red breast to voice the loudest of songs. Oh, I could watch that Robin all day long, and could listen to the message of hope that it sings.

“Joy. Joy to the world!!!”

Then the unfamiliar noise happened. A black cloud descends and the cacophony of fear and fight and help and rescue of a thousand crows descend. Oh, this fashion fair has become deafening. What, oh what has just happened?

We three stand up from our dinner table to look out our window. The familiar green grass is black with noise and fear. A second, maybe two, is needed to focus on what is happening. The yellow tits are screaming. The Robin runs away as do the beautiful blackbirds.

And then, we see.
And then we understand.
It’s a murder.
A killing.
George Floyd comes into my mind.
The policeman’s knee with full weight pressing down on his back. Uninviting the air from his lungs.
Death and murder.
Such a showing.
Such a noise.
This noise is deafening.
The large hawk. The jet speed attack.
Faster than aerial lightning.
Stunning the crow. The full weight, pinning him down. The steel rigid claw clamping the crow’s beak tight shut.
Murder murder, murder the crows craw, murder!
The speed, the brutality, the weight of the hawk on the crow’s chest suffocating it.
My thoughts.
Lord, I don’t like crows.
Lord, George Floyd, breathe let me breathe.
The clawed clamp on the beak. This is nature. This is what happens.

Sinead, lover of animals, animal whisperer, has gone unnoticed from our kitchen. We see her slipping her foot between the legs of the hawk and she hops and lifts her leg up slowly once, twice.
The noise is terrific. The crows are screaming free him, help him, release him, and as Hawk loses his grip on the beak the crows ascend in a black cloud, the victim still alive, camouflaged by the others.

The Hawk has gone.
The birds salute in a speedy circle.
The excitement disappears.
And the Robin sings glory Hallelujah once again.

Jo Wardhaugh Doyle is farming in Kildare with her husband Matt. She has worked in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, but more recently has worked with Sr Rita Kelly MMM doing the REAP programme in the Irish Missionary Union (IMU).