a tear could attract birds of prey

I’m picking up on a line here from Ngina that really spoke to me “a tear could attract birds of prey”.  Although I’m not actually sure which homonym of tear she meant. 

It is not harsh words
or sad news.
It is unexpected kindness
in the midst of sorrow and cruelty
that tears a sob
gasping from my chest
and pours tears down my face.

Because tears could attract birds of prey –
honed talons spread
obsidian beaks waiting to gorge.
Or worse, carrion crows,
black rag-scraps fluttering and fighting
for a carcass morsel.

It is only in solitude
or in the company of kindness
that tears can be safely released.


Things are a bit shit at the moment. My father was recently taken into care because his dementia got so bad he started wandering and getting lost. My mother then had a fall and is now in hospital and doesn’t know where she is. One of my kids hates me and takes every opportunity to tell me how much – and it’s a lot, and he tells me continuously.  And we’re flooded in so I can’t get away from him. And most of my job is dealing with problems – people’s problems and problem people. I’m feeling assailed by negativity on all sides.

So at the campus end of year function today when a colleague thanked me for inspiring him I completely lost it and bawled my eyes out for the next half hour. Lucky it was online so no one could see me.


Filed under musings, poem

27 responses to “a tear could attract birds of prey

  1. sad times. i know about verbal missives too.

  2. Well, you inspire me Kate with your beautiful poetry. Is the mum-hater a teenager by any chance? Kids go through phases which can be very hurtful, but keep your cool and you’ll both come out at the other end! 🧡🌹

  3. Hello Kate. First, your writing really inspires me and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. Those three last lines of your poem just about explain what the statement ‘ a tear could attract birds of prey’ means. Sometimes one can can only shed a tear within certain confinements otherwise it will be calling problems upon oneself if done elsewhere.
    Even if things aren’t going great for you, YOU will be okay.

  4. Kate so very sorry you’re in a dark spiral of events right now. Glad you were able to release some of the sad energy through tears. Family is a nuclear power storehouse of emotions of all kinds.

  5. writingwhatnots

    What a rotten time – with such problems from so many quarters. I can see how that line would have spoken to you at the moment. Your poem obviously speaks from the heart – a beautifully written piece. As Hobbo says, hang on in there, we love reading your work. Xx

  6. This all sounds really rough, Kate, but you wrote a beautiful, eloquent poem from the sadness and appreciation. I hope your situation improves.

  7. Eloquently evocative Kate in trying times🙏

  8. What’s not to love in a sunburnt country where in Queensland you can be flooded in and Tassie has north western bushfires all bound together by Wuhan’ s Virus

  9. A superb poem. I particularly liked the sight and sound of “black rag-scraps.” Excellent.

  10. I’m so sorry about the difficult times you are going through❤️

  11. I hope the New Year has bought better times. Cheers from me.

  12. You inspire and everything else sucks. That sucks and you put that fact out there with a poem that inspires for its acuity and insight. You fear exposure and here you expose yourself. I only know your writing, but it tells me there is something special about you.

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