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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Your Sunday Poem

    I have been lucky enough, these past few dark, chilly October nights, to have been graced by the sound of an owl somewhere high in the eucalyptus trees in the front yard. The soft wooo . . . hoo-hoo is a sound at once magical and mysterious and insistent that I pause in the middle of what I am doing in order to listen . . . listen-listen.
    This poem is by Mary Oliver, from her book, “New and Selected Poems, Volume Two.”

Owl in the Black Oaks

If a lynx, that plush fellow,
climbed down a
tree and left behind
his face, his thick neck,

and, most of all, the lamps of his eyes,
there you would have it –
the owl,
the very owl

who haunts these trees,
choosing from the swash of branches
the slight perches and ledges
of his acrobatics.

Almost every day
I spy him out
among the knots and the burls,
looking down

at his huge feet,
at the path curving through the trees,
at whatever is coming up the hill
towards him,

and, though I’m never ready –
though something unspeakably cold
always drops through my heart –
it is a moment

as lavish as it is fearful –
there is such pomp
in the gown of feathers
and the lit silk of the eyes –

surely he is one of the mighty kings
of this world.
Sometimes, as I keep coming,
he simply flies away –

and sometimes the whole body
tilts forward, and the beak opens,
clean and wonderful,
like a cup of gold.

3 comments:

Sewertoons said...

Hey Ann - me too - different owl (at least I hope there are two) different eucalyptus tree - same wonderful hoo-hoo-hoo. Thanks for a great poem - and Happy Halloween!

Alon Perlman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alon Perlman said...

I spy him out
among the knots and the burls,
looking down