Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lonely, White Fields-May 19, 2010

Every night

the owl

with his wild monkey-face

calls through the black branches,

and the mice freeze

and he rabbits shiver

in the snowy fields-

and then there is the long, deep through of silence

when he stops singing, and steps

into the air.

I don't know

what death's ultimate

purpose is, but I think

this: whoever dreams of holding his

life in his fist

year after year into the hundreds of years

has never considered the owl

how he comes, exhausted,

through the snow,

through the icy trees...

turning this way and that way

through the mesh of every obstacle-

undeterred by anything

filling himself time and time again

with a red and digestible joy

sickled up from the lonely, white fields-

and how at daybreak,

as though everything had been done

that must be done, the fields

swell with a rosy light,

the owl fades

back into the branches,

the snow goes on falling

flake after perfect flake.

Tomorrow is my 10th wedding anniversary. I awoke this morning, in the lonely dark hours hearing the Barred Owl hoot, wistful and yes, saddened, that the ten years have gone by so quickly. Every one of those years, every week, day, moment, a precious gift that is gone. Perhaps not gone, but shifted for as I think back on the joy of that day, I can still taste the joy. Our wedding cake was topped with two owls, who were not just the theme of our wedding, but became the theme of our marriage, and our shared ministries. The gift of time pasts then is not gone, just given over to a better thing. Here is a poem that was included in our order of service on that day, ten years ago...

The owl has special wing feathers that quiet its flight,

So the prey never detects the predator.

One noiseless flap, two, and the small mammal is caught.

As out of the soul's dark night, love is suddenly there, upon us:

Talons and beak.

We succumb,

And turn our bodies over to the nourishment of a grander thing.

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