The Winter Owl Weighs In
An owl has come to perch on the railing of my neighbour’s balcony.
I’m inside by the fire watching him intently,
Hoping he’d do something interesting, but he just ignores me with the intensity
Of someone older and much wiser than me.
I am curious as to why he is there; it is daylight and he must be feeling rather sleepy,
Yet he roosts in the sun, tilting forwards and backwards with the wind that is blowing briskly.
His spotted grey feathers pock his round frame randomly,
His eagle-like beak and pointy ears make his face look rather courtly.
He tucks his neck into his body and rotates his head robotically.
Isn’t he a bad omen, I thought, watching him, now worryingly?
Well, I think, in Greek mythology, wasn’t he a sign of victory?
When he flew over the soldiers on their way to the battlefields of vain glory?
Is he not the animal spirit of the goddess Athene,
Who was the keeper of wisdom and sanity?
Only… if you heard him hooting shriekily,
THEN you would be dead imminently!
Didn’t Shakespeare’s Caesar die portentously
After hearing the hoots and shrieks of this avian prodigy?
And what of Aesop and his fablesy story
Of that one time the grasshopper played his music rather loudly?
And the grumpy old owl did speak to him lovingly,
And then ate him when he came closer to hear more flattery?
Or how about the stories of transformation and witchery –
Never leave your children unattended,
Or the owl witch will swoop down and suck on the blood of your sweet baby!
Isn’t he an evil totem in American Indian folklore – I think maybe Cherokee?
Oh but as Hedwig, he was guardian and messenger to our boyish hero Harry!
AND in Aboriginal culture, he is actually a she, and is looked upon as sisterly.
And wasn’t he the most dapper of gentleman to his darling Pussy?!
Who he wed at a moonlit wedding by the silvery sea?!
I glance back at my owl friend still perched upon the railing of the balcony:
He’s fast asleep; claws, neck, ears all tucked in cutely…
“There’ll be no evil portents today!”
I knock on wood, and say three times, hopefully!
Copyright Sandra Radovanovic Buckingham 2019