Monday, November 15, 2010

A Metaphorical Eagle

At 3.00 am this morning I was listening to a podcast of an interview with Mark Simos (I'm not a bluegrass fan, but he's an interesting guy). He was talking about Peter Gabriel's song 'Solsbury Hill', and said that the Eagle in the song is a metaphorical eagle.
This phrase appealed to me so much - lots of ideas and pictures in my mind straight away!

First my head went straight to the little poem The Eagle, by Tennyson:

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
So much information in so few words.  I can clearly see him above his blue world, with his grasping talons: 

There are more than 60 species of eagle, most of them found in Europe, Asia and Africa. Only 2 species, the Bald and the Gold, occur in North America.  Tennyson was in the UK, so his Eagle wouldn't have been a bald one. 
They fascinate me because most are larger than any other raptors except vultures. They have very large hooked beaks, strong muscular legs and extremely good eyesight.

Eagles have been used by a great many countries as a national symbol, including



United States

So... a metaphorical eagle?  Strong, powerful, swift, merciless, predatory.



  1. A majestic bird just reeking of symbology

  2. Thank you for the information on eagles! I really enjoy the poetry you share too. This one was so visual too. Not far from here in Wabasha is the National Eagle Center- and they feature 4 educational ambassadors, Angel, Harriet, Columbia, and Donald and they all arrived injured and were rehabilitated and live there full time just waiting to have their pictures taken with visitors. So much to learn here. They have a web site with a 24 hour a day via live streaming video cam that you can watch the eagles too. Wabasha is home to many eagles!

  3. That's such a fantastic poem, so much description in a few words.

    When Mr H moved to Scotland the first time I did the tourist thing and held a Golden Eagle, it was incredibly heavy! and feeling the talons clinging on to your arm through the glove, such strength. I did the same with a Sea Eagle in Thailand (of all places!) - that time no glove but the bird had little protective bits of leather over each talon.

    I hope to see one wild in Scotland some day, they breed in various places up there.

    Beautiful birds and an interesting post, thank you :-)

  4. Thank you all for your lovely comments...

    Sally: majestic is exactly the right word! :)

    Karen: Thanks for the reminder - I have read about the National Eagle Center - so interesting watching them on the webcam!

    Juniper: I envy you those experiences! We have no eagles in new Zealand, only hawks.. but they are beautiful too.


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