(Poem) Omen by Sara Wright

SW omen photoThis morning as I walked

I saw an owl

veer into the hemlocks,

just above my head.

Chestnut patterns stenciled

on her feathery breast,

powerful barred wings soaring in flight.

I liked knowing she was veiled in evergreen as

dry papery leaves

drifted down around me.

A few crows expressed their displeasure.

Raucous mob cries

cut through the

patch -worked forest.

 

Vacant lots leave holes in the sky.

 

These days the wild things

must choose their roosts with care,

a brilliant blue firmament and a well

ripened sun won’t offer refuge for many

(But slanted light lets shadows play).

 

There is peace in this moment

but I cannot quite grasp it.

Like the owl it too slips away.

 

Walking home under golden beech

and granite stone

I thought of my mother,

and omens, wondering

what truths wafted my way

on the wings of that bird.

Owl is a seer, and so am I

but these wits are dulled

by another round

with the coyote woman

who steals light,

childlike joy,

and covers his tracks with lies

or bones.

It’s hard to create bridges

When Silence Is What You Know.

 

It wasn’t until I saw her

lifeless body

lying there in my garden

That I wept.

Two birds, not one.

I had watched the grouse

gobble berries and bugs.

Just the day before,

I welcomed her back.

Last summer as a new mother

she pecked ruby grapes.

I heard peeps in wheat colored grass.

 

When I first came here

I planted trees for blossoms to awaken me

from the long winter’s sleep.

The fruits come later – a feast

for birds and animals in summer and fall,

– some like the robins

who now cluster in the trees; songbirds

dropping to the ground for vermillion seeds

as I watch them, astonished,

from inside the window.

 

How could I have ever imagined

that this body of land, once

an oasis for all creatures,

would become an island

surrounded by slash –

heaped up limbs torn away

from textured trunks

root brains left to rot?

 

Now the “Owner of the Animals”*

calls in her kin

to leave this place.

Desecrated by man,

black bears no longer grace these woods,

wearing soft padded paws and sleek summer fur.

The deer grow gaunt with hunger.

Silence is king.

It’s not enough that I see

or that my heart breaks

with the loss of each species.

 

I left her body

on the hill where the foxes

come in to feed.

Plucked a few crowning feathers

to remind us both that

even in death

her life was what mattered to me.

 

(10/13/14)*

* owner of the animals varies from tribe to tribe – no hierarchal structure – the owner is the voice of the animals expressed through a chosen animal often a bear or a deer

Read Meet Mago Contributor Sara Wright.

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