How to Tell a Hawk from a Handsaw by Maurice Devitt

“I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly,

I know a hawk from a handsaw.”

…………………………………..William Shakespeare, Hamlet


With apologies to Shakespeare

I read all the plays in one afternoon,

laughed and cried

in all the right places.


Yeah, it was hectic

but not as hectic as the day

I re-read your letters.

Had forgotten your fondness for H,

how you never left home without it

and to conceal the fact

that you were carrying

you always dressed in black,

pockets so deep

they would frighten a miner.


And sometimes after dinner,

on days when you escaped detection,

you would turn out your pockets

to reveal a hawk,

complete with smoker’s cough,

jagged teeth

and, in his eyes, a heron.


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