NOAH'S BOAT– a Compendium of Beasties Large and Small
THE OWL IS A POEM
a flash of wings crossing the moon’s
wash of light. What he hears
are the wires of small lives. What
he sees are stars of movement.
The owl lights the night
with his whirr of passage. He flies
through gates of darkness,
withholding even his shadow,
yet the ground below shudders
and voles and rabbits
hunker and wait. Their paths
collide or not. The owl swoops,
talons flexed and shining.
Much depends on each catch.
The owl is a poem gliding,
silent, seeking the unwary,
the momentarily careless. His wings
unfurl like the sails of a boat in storm,
snapping open, held motionless
above the dampening grasses.
Across the meadow, the moon
lays its spill over the land, and the owl
keeps to the shadow-edge.
The moon is not a friend of owl.
The owl returns to the tree,
talons gripping the bark and dinner. He folds
his wings and calls softly into rising morning,
hoo hoo¸ sending his news
out to the neighborhood and listens, listens
for an answer, and she, too, is a poem.
What uncovers the long stretch of wind
that pulses from the western sea
and parts the night into hours and seconds?
Delivered on its long arms
are the moonsongs of Indians
calling ghosts of our ancestors
to gather in a circle of sage and remembrance.
From below, deep in the Earth's navel,
a bell sings its high sweet communion.
Break from your usual byways
and consider the stories of eagle and wolf,
how they surround you with courage,
lift you above the long slopes of the mountains.
Given this, the wind becomes creator and guide.
Sing it your songs, tell it your tales,
add them to the universal tongue.
Poems by CB Follett from "Noah's Boat."