Sunday, February 13, 2022

Lincoln Frees The Owls


 Lincoln Frees The Owls

Your father had
a cloud of blackbirds,
your mother a wake
of buzzards. You
were more ambitious.
You wanted Athena's owls,
or else to play Lincoln. You
had the bones for it, and you
bought the hat, but feathers
stuck in your throat
when you began to speak
about emancipation.
The owls never complained
about the long hours
you made them be still
on your lap, the skinny mice
you gave them. (It was
unfortunate about the butterflies,
but an owl has to eat.)
In the end we left you, 
the owls and I, in front of
the Ford Theater where later
we would all find out
what it means to be really free.

February 2022


posted for


  1. Holy sh*t! That's fantastic. All of it, but most amazing is the orthogonal Lincoln and Ford Theatre bend, ending with that last line! I'm reeling with a bullet to my head.

  2. This speaks of freedom on so many levels with a powerful deeper twist at the end. I know sometimes people hate to hear the simple statements like "this is magnificent", but this truly is Joy!

  3. However you conjure up magical poems like this one ~~~ never stop with the spinning, the giving! Amazing where you went with the image!

  4. So candidly told but always with a mysterious backdrop, Joy! I love this stamp in your work (that's how I see it, anyway). You kind of tempt the reader in with a juicy scene and they inevitably find yourself falling under the spell of your tale. I love the whole thing but these lines jumped out for me:

    "...but feathers
    stuck in your throat
    when you began to speak
    about emancipation."


  5. I think those feathers are stuck in my own throat now. Anyway, there is something there making it hard to take a breath and start responding. You impress me with your ability to write a long expository poem that blows the doors off, OR a short gem like this. As one who loves owl, you know i adore this.

  6. The feathers in the throat really got to me.....I love the owls.

  7. " a wake of buzzards is brilliant". A poem to read and read again! JIM

  8. Freedom is a word with a world of definitions. I like how the owls caught on after awhile.

  9. Letters to the paramour work the heart that "owls" its breakage, asking what forests there really were and what surviving them must mean. When is love an indentured servitude (the sacrifice inherent in all love) and when is it slavery? And who decides? There's a bit of the olde Victorian in the works of this, pages stained from age and weary in the turning. The speaker at that distance from the grave where the paramour's circus vanished.

    1. Thanks, B. Yes, forests of stumps have little grace, but I suppose make good hunting for owls. We often make slaves of ourselves as I know you know, and when the key suddenly appears in your hand, it's almost worth it for the feeling of escape. Appreciate your thoughts and insights, as always, old friend.

  10. Wow! The direction this poem takes is genius!


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

Comment Moderation Has Been Enabled