No one else would take your place
The most debased of your winged brothers
As you pick at rotting meat that no others would approach
It is you who accompanies that most feared fate of all living beings
And for that you are ignored and shunned
By other birds, as well as man.
Birdwatchers seek nuthatch, swallow and martin
but not you.
They may acknowledge your existence
With an uneasy nod
But the stink of death surrounds you
And the fear of it holds sway.
Yet God has seen fit to recompense you for your ostracized existence
I gaze up in the sky and watch as you seem to float on the slipstream
The lightest breeze seems to be enough to support your broad wings
Which hardly beat as you circle and swoop and dip
A black kite that plumbs the vault of the heavens,
The most serene of all the winged spirits.
Although I have seen you gather at your carrion repasts
And once came upon one of your hidden roosts,
Most often I see you in your high reverie
And watch in admiration.
How magnificent it must feel to glide upon the winds
No engine, nor artificiality to compensate for the unnatural pursuit of flight
As men with great effort use to imitate the act.
What Nature has provided comes naturally to you
A flight of effortless tranquility
That in its grace surpasses all other feathered creatures.
A fitting reward my friend
For a life spent feasting upon the dead.