Sandra Noel, Hawk Land

HAWK LAND, Sandra Noel. Middle Creek Publishing & Audio, 9167 Pueblo Mountain Park Road, Beulah, CO 81023, 85 pages, $18 paper,

Sandra Noel is a Marine Biologist and the current poet laureate of Vashon Island. I read Hawk Land last year and wrote a cover blurb for it. This year I read the book itself and am in awe of Noel’s steady adoration of the natural world. If you look at her design website, you get a sense of why birds and water play such a prominent role in her poems. Her publisher, Middle Creek, is all about “The Literature of Human Ecology.” And in her bio notes, you learn that Noel is a dedicated meditator, with poems in journals such as Buddhist Poetry Review.

The poems in this book, too, are meditations:

Space Cannot be Punctured by an Arrow

After many hours on the cushion
thinking about these words
understanding comes
on the drive home
waiting for the ferry.

—Sandra Noel

Noel’s “reverence for nature illustrates the power of place [and] the power of the sacred in nature” advises a cover blurb from David Anthony Martin. Reading these poems, you, too, are out for your morning run, witnessing, lamenting, grateful.

I Heard a Small Stream

I heard a small stream singing
its culverted and corrupted waters
frothed with phosphate
from a nearby field
still, it carried on
a joyful rhythmic cacophony
rolling over small stones and debris
following the sounds of seabirds.
We feed it our poisons or dam its courses
but if there is the smallest breach
it will break through and run.

Once a great mountain not too far from here
erupted and buried a river
under hundreds of feet of earth
but in less time than you can imagine
its waters carved a meandering path
that wore a way through.

I want to be water
and find my way again
winding and flowing
through and over obstacles
pouring out all I am into a vast sea
letting go at last.

—Sandra Noel

Poster by Sandra Noel

Sandra Noel


THE GYPSY IN MY KITCHEN, Sandra Noel. Finishing Line Press, PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324, 2015, 29 pages, $12.95 paper,

I met Sandra Noel in 2017 at SoulFood Coffeehouse when we read our poems  together. Noel writes about Indonesia, where she  has worked with the Alliance for Tompotika (ALTO), a non-profit conservation organization, and she writes about walking and running in the woods. This poem especially inspired me and seemed to have been written especially for me to read today. (I looked up Horus, who is, appropriately–given the red-tailed hawks circling above the poem–a god in the form of a falcon.


The day after…
stillness comes
it’s the same trail
I ran yesterday
the same moss covers
the dead tree branches.
Today a small rain creates concentric magic.
A pair of red tails circle overhead
patrolling the parameter
with serial grace.
I offer up my heart to them
broken as it is
a sacrifice to Horus.
I will go forth singing
in the ancient way
with the old joy
and sweet grace
of the body.
This is what I trust
This is all I know
about anything.
I came here closed
and broken.
I leave filled with light.