Send Forth the High Falcon

By Léonie Adams 1899–1988 Leonie Adams
Send forth the high falcon flying after the mind   
Till it come toppling down from its cold cloud:   
The beak of the falcon to pierce it till it fall
Where the simple heart is bowed.
O in wild innocence it rides
The rare ungovernable element,
But once it sways to terror and descent,
The marches of the wind are its abyss,
No wind staying it upward of the breast—
Let mind be proud for this,
And ignorant from what fabulous cause it dropt,
Or with how learned a gesture the unschooled heart   
Shall lull both terror and innocence to rest.

Léonie Adams, “Send Forth the High Falcon” from Poems: A Selection (New York: The Noonday Press, 1959). Used by permission of Judith Farr, Literary Executrix of the Estate of Léonie Adams.

Source: Poems: A Selection (The Noonday Press, 1959)

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Poet Léonie Adams 1899–1988

Subjects Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

An educator, consultant, editor, and poet, Leonie Adams was best known for her lyric poetry reminiscent of both the Romantic and Metaphysical periods. Her poetry won her several awards, including the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize. She served in editorial capacities for both Wilson Publishing and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City during the 1920s and later taught . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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