Death, be not proud

Yesterday in the late afternoon I took a walk around the lagoon.

Although I’m a fast walker and normally gaze straight ahead, at one point I looked down and saw a hawk feather and then another and another and my eyes followed a trail of feathers to the tragic and somber sight of a juvenile hawk that must have had a catastrophic collision with a vehicle.

His poor little mangled body was crushed beyond recognition but I was able to collect a handful of feathers. I thought I’d bring them home and design some kind of creation to honor his short life.

Native Americans believed a hawk’s death is a good omen and it’s symbolic of when their troubles will end and they will receive blessings. The appearance of a dead hawk is an indication of a significant event or could also be suggestive of a needed life transformation.

I immediately thought of the Donne poem, Death, be not proud. I’m not exactly sure that the meaning works in this situation, but since that’s the first thing that came to mind, here it is.

HOLY Sonnet: Death, be not proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

John Donne – 1571-1631

4 thoughts on “Death, be not proud

  1. Cool to know about the Native interpretation of finding a dead hawk. Several years ago I found a dead hawk – can’t remember how much of the bird – but I grabbed a wing and use it when I smudge the house.

    Liked by 2 people

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