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The Dalliance of the Eagles


Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)

Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles,

The rushing amorous contact high in space together,

The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,

Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,

In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling.

Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull,

A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,

Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,

She hers, he his, pursuing.


                                                            Walt Whitman



Whitman couldn't have known this, but what he saw were two male eagles fighting.
According to a program on PBS, two male eagles will grasp claws and then spin
towards the earth in a game of chicken. Ed.



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