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        Song of the Spotted Owl

O sylvan of the night,
Winged silence that blends with branch and bole,
Denizen of forest black and thick,
  that old growth world of ancient spells;
O stalker in the dark,
Pouncer fierce from limb to limb in
  canopy's star-dim lofts,
You snatch the breath and heat
From panicked, arboreal prey that
Lay in lithe, astonished surrender
  within your stealthy grasp.

Your echoic music grips the dark.
Your pulsive, ventriloquial sound
  seems to exit the woodland's every pore.
By dint of evolution's suck and pull,
  a tone that stabs the forest deep
Defends an aplomb of your domain and
Hails the great deed that births another brood.

O gatherer of the night,
With pallid firs and cedars your
  coursings touch in endless search,
With somnific hours in pensive vigil,
With night-long wail, entrancing lovers,
With fleeting shapes in misty air,
Your presence powers stronger woods
And raises fiercer chase
  to which your wingings
Inescapably command.

        - bruce g marcot


And then we’ll sit
in the shadowy spruce and
pick the bones
of careless mice,
while the long moon drifts
toward Asia

- John Haines (b. 1924), U.S. poet. If the Owl Calls Again (l. 13–18).  New from the Glacier; Selected Poems. (1982) Wesleyan University Press.

Photo above ©Bruce G. Marcot.  Juvenile Nothern Spotted Owl, northwestern California..

I wrote my poem long before I discovered Haines' poem.

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