Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard

handmade greeting card, collage art

His beak could open a bottle,

and his eyes—when he lifts their soft lids—

go on reading something

just beyond your shoulder—

Blake, maybe,

or the Book of Revelation.


Never mind that he eats only

the black-smocked crickets,

and dragonflies if they happen

to be out late over the ponds, and of course

the occasional festal mouse.

Never mind that he is only a memo

from the offices of fear—


it’s not size but surge that tells us

when we’re in touch with something real,

and when I hear him in the orchard


down the little aluminum

ladder of his scream—

when I see his wings open, like two black ferns,


a flurry of palpitations

as cold as sleet

rackets across the marshlands

of my heart,

like a wild spring day.


Somewhere in the universe,

in the gallery of important things,

the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish,

sits on its pedestal.

Dear, dark dapple of plush!

A message, reads the label,

from that mysterious conglomerate:

Oblivion and Co.

The hooked head stares

from its blouse of dark, feather lace.

It could be a valentine.

—Mary Oliver

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jackspratt823
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 06:55:10

    Absolutely terrific ! So clever, so well organised- full of original imagery.


  2. pegoleg
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 15:04:17

    Wow. Wonderful word picture.


  3. Evolution of X
    Mar 22, 2013 @ 06:24:00

    I love that you used the periodic table. My partner will love it.


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