POETICS: poems, text experiments

credit: unknown

The Way of the Owl


The Stony Thursday Book No. 5 (ed. Knute Skinner), Limerick, Ireland. October 2006.


"The Way of the Owl" is one of my own favourite poems. it combines my interest in both nature and the strange language of science. How can we find new ways of talking about old things?

I was very happy that this was my first poem published in The Stony Thursday Book. This was issue no. 5, under the watchful eye of editor Knute Skinner.

The Way Of The Owl

Owls on their nocturnal flights
follow sonar courses
precisely tracked from roof to tree,
like 747s on fly-by-wire
approaching the runway:
control room guided
and blind.

Under the moon
white snow looks white
in the black of night,
the trails of hare and shrew

But triangulations made by
trapezoid ears, pivoting
capture the sound of small
paws on grains of crystal.
Hold it close, fold it inside
circular canals of audition.
Copied and magnified
like reverberation
in a hall of glistening stone.

The owls in flight,
air traffic controllers embedded
in their cave skulls,
howl in silence.
From roof to tree,
and tree to snow.

White snow in the moonlight,
hidden sounds in their heads,
and bright red blood
on worn claws.