A Pledge of Owls

Where the reeds meet the meadow

by the longer shades of day,

pale as scalded milk, you ghost by,  

weave arabesques in still air;   

your faint heart scans for signs of life,   

the fluorescent tag of fear. 

Then you twist on folded wings,

turn on a tussock, drop, reach,    

close, and fly  away to the barn

to devour, digest and spit out the bones.


And where the bracken is defended

by walls of stone, above the first blush of heather,

and the late surrender of the cotton grass,

as rustic as oat meal, you patrol your expanses,

conceal your intent with patches of white,

keep to dead ground,  row swift then glide

with certainty through a rising dawn,

your face impassive as a clock, as,

driven by instinct  born of empty hunger,

you hover, pounce and feast in the sedge.