The Eagle and the Hawk - "Greatest Hits" Version - song and lyrics by John Denver | Spotify

About the song

John Denver’s The Eagle and the Hawk. A song that evokes the vastness of the American West and the creatures that soar through its skies. Denver, a true legend of folk music, was known for his optimistic anthems and his connection to nature. The Eagle and the Hawk, released in 1971 on the album Aerie, is a prime example of this.

The song opens with a stark contrast between two birds of prey. The eagle, a majestic symbol of freedom and power, resides in the “rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky.” This imagery conjures the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, a natural habitat for these magnificent creatures. The hawk, on the other hand, is introduced with a touch of ambiguity. There’s “blood on its feathers,” hinting at its predatory nature. This raises an eyebrow – is this a song about the circle of life, or is there something more profound at play?

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As the verses unfold, Denver masterfully weaves together the characteristics of these two birds with broader themes. The eagle represents a yearning for freedom and a connection to something greater. Its soaring flight mirrors the human desire to reach for the stars, both literally and metaphorically. The hawk, with its bloodstained feathers, becomes a symbol of the harsh realities of the world, the struggles and sacrifices we face.

However, the song doesn’t dwell on the darkness. The recurring line, “But time is still turning, they soon will be dry,” offers a sense of resilience. The bloodstains, the reminders of hardship, will eventually fade. This echoes Denver’s characteristic optimism, the belief that even in the face of challenges, there is hope for renewal.

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The chorus takes this message a step further with a powerful invitation: “Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops. Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars.” This isn’t just about appreciating nature’s beauty; it’s a call to action. Denver urges us to embrace the vastness of the world, to dream big, and to strive for a better future.

The Eagle and the Hawk is more than just a song about birds. It’s a meditation on the human condition, our place in nature, and the enduring power of hope. Denver’s folksy melody and relatable lyrics resonate with listeners across generations, making it a timeless classic in the realm of American music.

Video

Lyrics

“The Eagle And The Hawk”

I am the eagle, I live in high country in rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky.
I am the hawk, and there’s blood on my feathers.
But time is still turning, they soon will be dry.

And all those who see me, and all who believe in me
share in the freedom I feel when I fly.Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops.
Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars.

And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
and all that we can be, and not what we are.