Barn Owl Feather

I can still smell the owl on the feather.
We speculate, reaching with our noses,
Whether it smells more like cat or dog.
It is owl, of course,
But we are not used to smelling birds.
I have smelled chickens,
And the body of a wren
(warm in my hands
a mouse of a bird:
i kept its wings for medicine
and now they are following me
knowing i know their secrets
better than most.)

I smell the owl in my dream.
The smell of the owl is now the most
Important thing in the world.
The smells of the flowers are full of it;
The smell of the day and the night.
In the morning, when I wake,
I smell the the owl;
As I doze in the afternoon,
The smell of the owl
Rises from the pillow
Caresses my sleep with
Feathered fingers of gliding,
Hunting and silence.

The owl is hunting me,
Who stole its feather
And smelled its forbidden scent.
I pray that it finds me
And hunts my unknown body
From the madness of this world
Without woods.

2 thoughts on “Barn Owl Feather

  1. I have always found it best never to steal feathers. But to take them when they are left for you to find.

    This is a fabulous poem Tom, rich with images and indeed smells. That bit about using the wings of the wren is interesting too, slightly disturbing with a suggestion that you had taken the wings from the bird… perhaps owl-like. The conjured up images of blood and helplessness are wild and natural and uncivilised.

  2. The owl is hunting me,
    Who stole its feather
    And smelled its forbidden scent.
    I pray that it finds me
    And hunts my unknown body
    From the madness of this world
    Without woods.

    these words..painted such pictures in me..

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