The Great Horned Owl   3 comments

Great Horned Owl — Image by kenne

Owls

Wait; the great horned owls
Calling from the wood’s edge; listen.
           There: the dark male, low
And booming, tremoring the whole valley.
           There: the female, resolving, answering
High and clear, restoring silence.
           The chilly woods draw in
Their breath, slow, waiting, and now both
           Sound out together, close to harmony.

           These are the year’s worst nights.
Ice glazed on the top boughs,
           Old snow deep on the ground,
Snow in the red-tailed hawks’
           Nests they take for their own.
Nothing crosses the crusted ground.
           No squirrels, no rabbits, the mice gone,
No crow has young yet they can steal.
           These nights the iron air clangs
Like the gates of a cell block, blank
           And black as the inside of your chest.

           Now, the great owls take
The air, the male’s calls take
           Depth on and resonance, they take
A rough nest, take their mate
           And, opening out long wings, take
Flight, unguided and apart, to caliper
           The blind synapse their voices cross
Over the dead white fields,
           The dead black woods, where they take
Soundings on nothing fast, take
           Soundings on each other, each alone.

— W.D. Snodgrass

Kenne and W.D. Snodgrass (1999) — Montgomery College Writers In Performance Series

3 responses to “The Great Horned Owl

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  1. There is so much I like about this poem and image, Kenne. Wow! I also deeply appreciate the photos with W.D. Snodgrass, one of the giants of American poetry. Wow again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like that poem and the poet’s own short explanation at the end of what they were aiming for.

    Like

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