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Bright Eyes

The owl that calls and calls and, pausing, calls again
is speaking to me, as I fancy, lying here,
the bedroom and its furniture made pale and strange
by patination borrowed from a hanging moon.

How lovely the night is! Creeping out of bed,
I pad downstairs, open the door, and stand like Adam
on the spiky lawn, where dew is gathering.
Somewhere, at the edge of earshot, under lights,
a combine makes short work of one more wheat field.
Stars are myriad but shy, outfaced by moonlight,
as the bird who summoned me repeats herself
once, twice — ‘to-wit, to-wit’ — then hesitates,
suspicious of a foreign presence on her ground.

A minute passes. Now the overarching oak
releases her, my fellow vigilant,
bright-eyed Athena, wings outstretched,
who sails straight by my upturned wondering face
and down the silver valley till I’ve lost her
and I wait, and then… ‘to-wit, to-wit… to-wit’
as Adam shivers with a sense of benefit.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author