Elegy to a Barn Owl


I found him on a snow-lit day

when clouds hung over velvet grey,

stiffly cold, his wings outspread

as if denying he was dead.


All throughout that bitter night

I dreamt of his nocturnal flight,

the silent swoop, the sudden pounce

on unsuspecting vole or mouse.


I thought I saw him, with his kill,

descend beneath my window sill

above the hush of winter snow

his voice rang out both clear and low.


And so it was, his mournful cry

became my phantom lullaby

for in a dream I saw him die

and watched his silver spirit fly.


I found him lying on the ground,

his tigered feathers, gentlest brown,

with snowy down of tender white

and frozen eyes, devoid of sight.

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