Gyps fulvus

Strutting, sleek, well-liveried,
wearing their long coats with aplomb,
they have the neck for anything
where there’s a quick return
and they can get in
at ground level.

Almost like eagles in the air,
but with a guarded gravitas
and challenging stare,
are they aware perhaps
that they are not quite
from the top echelon?

High-flyers nonetheless,
spotting the fastest currents to the top,
cutting fine figures with their loops and gyres,
wheeling and gliding, biding time until they find
what the wheel of all things
never fails to provide.

Then see the vultures drop at speed,
flapping in dozens to the carrion;
hunched at the banquet, gobbets in the beak;
all their display brought down
to naked scavenging.

– David Morphet 2004