The Owl

A large owl glimpsed
in flight at the edge
of the spruce grove,
wings clipping against
the locust saplings as
it drops from its roost
& glides down the hillside
through trees as brown
as its feathers, a glare
off the snow & above,
the deepest blue:
I think of it again
just as I’m falling asleep.
The wind is shaking the house,
& I am wondering if this
is what it feels like
to be happy.

7 Comments


  1. Quite lovely poem, thank you. I’m going to remember it.

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  2. Dave, I really like this one. Naturally, I’m suspicious of the way it ends on an upbeat, but on rereading I’m convinced that the “happy” is well-earned. Well done, man.

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  3. Funny, I just happened to reread this sentence of mine in the front matter of Shadow Cabinet: “If only I could write uplifting little poems about falling in love, or the innocuous, almost daily epiphanies that seem to grace so many writers’ lives!” Which immediately made me nervous, thinking of this innocuous little poem. Am I going soft? So your comment is well-timed and somewhat reassuring. Thanks!

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  4. Wondering what it might feel like to be happy ain’t happy.

    “Off”: this word here is carooming in it’s blocking action. I felt like I was flying, then couldn’t, took a tumble and ended face-up to the sky. Birds dream prone, back to the sky. Supine dreaming humans, dogs, and mammals do.

    Beautiful description of owl-flight. Beautiful transition to indoors, to memory, to your own wooden form of flight.

    Was your house shaking like a hen after a dust bath? No way! Your house was shakin’ like a raptor.

    Very, very good.

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  5. Thanks, Bill! I think you caught all the subtleties here — including one or two I wasn’t fully conscious of myself.

    “Wondering what it might feel like to be happy ain’t happy.”
    Bingo.

    Reply

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