Athene Noctua

fotocredit robcullen 2010

Black boughed oaks, snow whitened hills

remnants of a great wood cut for Lydney’s iron mills.

I searched alone, a white haired boy,

catching unclean little owls with the slow sweep

of a green wool sweater.

I stared long into the eyes of Tawny owls

that in another age cured madness.

Jackdaws called my name from the river bank,

I saved them, from the waters rise,

 wrapped them clustered close, in a dark green jerkin,

fed them, and on another day let them go back to the wild.

I dreamt of eagles, hawks and falcons,

but Robins flew to my call, and sat still in my hand.


At St Anne’s long strand where Irelands east coast clamoured,

black Jack ravens clawed at my brow, trying to roost

in dusks gathering glower, and the tides rush

while I stood listening to the Atlantic rollers roar,

and the weeping sigh of the one I loved.


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