Eagle, or: Hoopoe

A haibun

My response to d’Verse’s prompt for Haibun Monday: ‘Eagle’

As an adult, I left the United States of America. but the United States of America never left me. I have a graduate degree in US public policy; and I lived and worked in Washington, DC for three years. To this day, I continue to follow current events in the United States of America closely from my faraway home in Jerusalem, Israel.

Only a fragment of my soul remains in the United States of America, but I can navigate its society more readily than any other. I remain intimately familiar with the history, culture, and symbols of the United States of America in a way that transcends my mind. I know the names of the faces that appear on US currency. I know the meaning behind the stars and stripes of the flag. I know the dates of the American national holidays. I know the national anthem. I know the national motto. I know the national tree and the national mammal… and, of course, I know the national bird and the national seal that it graces.

America, for all its many challenges, remains the world’s superpower; and the [bald] eagle, its national bird, is considered to be the leader of the avian world, symbolizing strength, courage, immortality, and far-sightedness. This mighty bird of prey also enjoys connections with the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter; and it flies higher than any other bird – alone – never in a flock.

Accipitridae -
More than 200 species.
Upupidae? One.

The haibun above is my response to the d’Verse Haibun Monday prompt.

Poets were directed to write haibuns that reference the Eagle, in whatever context they conceive. For those new to haibun, the form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose (usually written in the present tense), which evoke an experience and are often non-fictional and/or autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image— that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.

I did not strictly follow the prompt because I did not include a seasonal image. My mind meandered elsewhere.

76 thoughts on “Eagle, or: Hoopoe”

  1. Forget the prompt, I enjoyed the preface of your subject. I learnt something new about you today, but most importantly, the bald eagle’s comparisons to Zeus and Jupiter, and the fact that he flies alone above “everyone” else. Brillaint post!

  2. I like what you did with the prompt David. You gave us all a history lesson refresher! The eagle is and amazing symbol as you have pointed out so well in your Haibun. Well done.

  3. I’m sure birds have no notions of who are the mightiest, they just do what they do based on their spots in their respective food chains. I love the looks of that little critter the hoopoe. With its long beak it’s probably an anteater? Will have to go to youtube to see it do its strut on its sturdy little legs. Very interesting haibun in both a political and biological sense.

    1. I have only seen it once in my life. Its not only beautifully unique, its very elegant and confident. Just my observation of the one I saw, lol.

  4. And there you are, expat in the new capital of Israel. Nice take on the prompt. How did you feel about the crazy lethal quartet of Trump years? Poetry reveals much about each of us.

    1. Glenn, thanks 🙂

      Regarding the Trump years, I can say that he did some things that I agree with, and some things that I disagree with, but I am particularly impressed with the peace agreements that he brokered between Israel and several of its neighboring states in the last year or so. Those peace agreements are truly historic – Israeli planes flying freely over Saudi air space to the UAE? Wow!


    1. Andrew,

      Well, I’ve been told that haibun are not supposed to be too long – one poet who provided a haibun prompt last month suggested that it should be three paragraphs or so. I’m just a novice at these things, following directions!


  5. I love how with each paragraph your haibun became more and more focussed on the USA and finally the Eagle! The closing paragraph and haiku are just awesome.

    1. Thanks, M Jay.

      It was important for me to set the context for the haiku itself – I never rejected the USA, but I happen to be more hoopoe than eagle.


  6. The bald eagle is a majestic looking bird – however it is also an opportunist that is not above eating carrion… So even the most noble can have a less than inspiring side. So yes, the eagle is a fitting symbol!
    As for the haibun – excellent! The haiku is superior (even without the seasonal reference)!!

  7. Really well done, haibun, David. Good connection between the US as a part of your personal history and its emblem. I like eagles, like watching them fly. Never saw one live….but a do enjoy documentaries with them as a focus. An enjoyable read. Thank you.

  8. I am soaring tonight reading the many creative pieces that feature eagles. I like the direction you took, focusing on the symbolism of the majestic bird. 🦅 Seeing eagles in the wild, in Oregon, along the mighty Rogue River, felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment for me. 💖

  9. Like with all symbols there is the idea and what it stands for and some reality because of the weakness of humanity, rapped up by the faith of its promise, may we all get there one day

  10. I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild but I have seen a hoopoe – it flew right in front of my windscreen like an escort so I had to follow behind it – fascinating! I like the subtle comparison you make between the two nations.

  11. I enjoyed your haibun, David, learning a bit about you and your life, and about the eagle, the national bird of the US, especially that it has connections with the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter – I’d like to read more about them.

        1. Well, those who think also remember. After all, Israelis also want the rest of the world to know that they are individuals and not necessarily represented well by their leaders and their leaders’ policies.

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