Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Talk with Tyto alba

Lechuza (Tyto alba)

A Talk with Tyto alba

To the garden overwatered
by my tears
the Barn Owl came one night.
He sat on a branch,
swiveling his round-windowed head
to ask me why
I cried.

“Are you lonely
here, in this place
you built yourself? Do the wolves
draw in at evening,
slipping their howls in the papery sigh
of free wind I sail?”

I looked in his eyes
globed as peaches, golden
lamps pulling light
from dark.
I shook my head.

“Then is it the stone
you can't drop, the ugly one
held so hard on your lungs,
heavy with years,
sharp with fear
of  tomorrow?”

I shook my head.
“I don’t cry for what I’ve lost,
for what I am or what will be.
 I cry for what I’ve broken
and what has broken me.”

“But that's all three,”
said the owl
leaving me there
with a shrug of his wing, 

smooth as music on the air,
chasing his soft
personal rustlings
in the grass.

June 2011

An old poem, repurposed for 
The Sunday Muse

Image: Lechuza (Tyto alba) by posted on flick'r 


  1. "I cry for what I've broken and what has broken me." Isn't that the truth! This encounter is so beautifully written. I especially love the wolf howls "in the papery sigh of free wind I sail."

  2. "slipping their howls in the papery sigh / of free wind" -- Oooh! Love that. Great response by the owl.

  3. ...and the owl summed it up nicely with a shrug of his wing, whispering the words "forgive yourself" as he flew. You have a beautiful way with words.

  4. I love the opening it sets the pace for the poem. Those tears are shed for many reasons. I often wonder for whom do I cry for the most? I think it's for the lost pieces in the journey. I can see the barn owl swooping low to catch that mouse who
    scampers on soft feet. I also feel the mystery in deciphering why you cry? I feel he doesn't really want to know the answer. It's an invitation to the doorway to self discovery.

  5. OH my. I really don't even want to comment...I want to let this gem just be, as I sit and nod, breath taken away.

  6. This is one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read Joy! It is spectacular in every way. From howls in the papery sigh of free wind, and eyes globed as peaches to heavy with years...I am in awe. This is truly breathtaking!!

  7. "I cry for what I’ve broken and what has broken me.” Oh, that speaks to me right where I am. Mired in place I have done so much thinking, reevaluating, wondering how and when I can move forward. As always your poetry is always a blessing to read.

  8. The owl's smooth shrug just catches me. It makes me wonder how many dark glades it's glided through.

  9. This is a deep, raw encounter with many sad tears...loved it!

  10. Wow...this is so painful and so incredibly beautiful.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats