Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Owl Time

For a few years we had a resident Barn Owl in an old tin barn extension. Then a gale blew down the tin and the barn owl left us. Now a neighbour has one which has taken up residence in one of his barns. A friend saw him the other evening just as night was falling. He was sitting on a post at the side of the lane, overlooking the grass verge. Verges are his favourite place, for it is there that he is most likely to find his favourite food - vole.

I have a small collection of Victorian stuffed birds, of which the barn owl is one. I am sorry about the reflection of the flash on the glass, but at least you can get some idea of what a beautiful bird he* is.

* for he read he/she

Owl Time

In that wedge of time

when the sun has gone down

behind the rise

of the moor;

when the sky is still

tinged with pink

and the moon,

rising over the bare

black branches

of Givendale,

is casting its silver light.

Then you might see him!

He will slip,


across the grass,

searching, searching

for the mice.

You will catch him

for an instant

in your headlights -

silent, white ghost of a bird.

He'll see you

with his superior eyesight.

He'll hear you

as you pass.

But his mind will be thinking

Vole! Vole! Vole!


Leslie said...

Hi, my name is Leslie and I live in the State of Arkansas in the USA. I love the picture of the owl and I am a creature lover. Blogging is the most fun thing that I do. I do all kinds of crafts, play games on my computer, and make my own greeting cards. I am a 70 year young woman.

Pat Posner said...

Great photo and poem, Weaver.
We've got resident Little Owls and Tawny Owls but I haven't seen a Barn Owl for years.

Janice Thomson said...

I love owls but have never been fortunate enough to see one. Such beautiful birds! Super photo Weaver. Great poem to go with this photo.

Debra (a/k/a Doris, Mimi) said...

What a beautiful creature! I have never seen an owl up close and in person. I'd love to get a photo like yours. Even the reflection of glass cannot diminish how lovely he/she is.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely poem and photo, I've seen several owls but never a barn owl, I'd love to see one they always seem so ghostly...

Gwil W said...

lovely atmospheric poem with sense of place
like it very much

Rachel Fox said...

I like the 'ghost of a bird'.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hi Leslie, nice to meet you. I shall pop over and see your blog in a moment. You sound fun.
I too am a creature lover.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for calling Pat. We have lots of little owls here - they live in hollow trees. We also have one or two tawny owls, but the barn owl is much scarcer, which is why we are so glad to see it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Janice.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes they are lovely Debra. I think in Victorian times birds were sometimes killed to stuff, whereas now taxidermists only take those that are already dea - road accidents, hitting wires etc. I have collected a few old ones and it does give you a marvellous opportunity to really examine them closely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Poet in Residence - I take it as a great compliment coming from you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Rachel - I think they look so ghostly as they always appear as it is getting dark.

Sal said...

What a beauty!
We still have our resident Pheasant,who comes to the greenhouse every day, stays there all day to keep warm..then disappears at around tea time.
I love the birds ;-)

Unknown said...

I like this, Weaver; succinct capturing of the animal. Great picture too.

Reader Wil said...

That was a beautiful tribute to the barn owl! Is it written by you?

The poem in my post is part of a much longer poem. We used this verse on my husband's mourning card.

Heather said...

What a beautiful owl - I haven't seen a barn owl since I was a child when one flew over my head as I walked from my aunt's house to ours. It just whispered above me and was like something from a fairy story. Your poem is beautiful too and 'says it all'. Thankyou for another inspiring post.

Teresa said...

What a beautiful, majestic bird. Never realized before how absolutely gorgeous they are. Thanks for sharing!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Owls are such wonderful creatures. I love to hear the ones we have here in my garden. Great Horned, Screech and Barred. I would love to see a Barn Owl.

Woman in a Window said...

Well, atleast "vole" is a safe thought for him to think. If he were thinking "plump lady, plump lady" I'd be shit outta luck.

Liz said...

Hi Weaver

What a stunning owl he is and the poem you wrote is just wonderful. those little voles had better watch out for Mr Owl and his keen sight. We have Owls here in New Zealand as well including the Barn Owl but I haven't ever seen one myself. I don't think they're very common here. I could do with one here on the farm to help clear out some of the pests. Wonderful post

Take care and keep warm!!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sal - thanks for visiting. We once had a pheasant who used to sped the night in our greenhouse to keep warm, Round here they are all semi-tame.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you Barbara. Glad you called.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, reader wil, I did write the poem. The poem for your husband's mourning card is very beautiful and very apt.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you Heather and Teresa glad you both enjoyed my post.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela - horned, screech and barbed - fantastic - I have never seen any one of those.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Woman in a window - nice sense of humour. Reminded me of Hitchcock's "Birds."

The Weaver of Grass said...

You have problems with pests too Madbush? We often have a rat problem when they come in for the winter - we have to keep poison down permanently. We have farm cats for the mice though.

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