Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The Owl

“O you virtuous owle,
The wise Minerva’s only fowle.” — Sir Philip Sidney


“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.”— Ernest Hemingway

       Midweek Motif ~ The Owl

Owls have been appearing in literature since a long time. To the Bard, the owl was a merry note; an elegant fowl to Edward Lear but to many others owl brought gloom.

Let’s see how you look at this most written about bird of prey.

A few owl poems for you:

by Sylvia Plath

Clocks belled twelve. Main street showed otherwise
Than its suburb of woods : nimbus—-
Lit, but unpeopled, held its windows
Of wedding pastries,

Diamond rings, potted roses, fox-skins
Ruddy on the wax mannequins
In a glassed tableau of affluence.
From deep-sunk basements

What moved the pale, raptorial owl
Then, to squall above the level
Of streetlights and wires, its wall to wall
Wingspread in control

Of the ferrying currents, belly
Dense-feathered, fearfully soft to
Look upon? Rats' teeth gut the city
Shaken by owl cry. 

The Judge Is Like The Owl
by Emily Dickinson

The Judge is like the Owl—
I've heard my Father tell—
And Owls do build in Oaks—
So here's an Amber Sill—

That slanted in my Path—
When going to the Barn—
And if it serve You for a House—
Itself is not in vain—

About the price—'tis small—
I only ask a Tune
At Midnight—Let the Owl select
His favorite Refrain. 

 The Owl
by Edward Thomas

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved; 
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof 
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest 
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof. 

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest, 
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I. 
All of the night was quite barred out except 
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry 

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill, 
No merry note, nor cause of merriment, 
But one telling me plain what I escaped 
And others could not, that night, as in I went. 

And salted was my food, and my repose, 
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice 
Speaking for all who lay under the stars, 
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
                (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Abundance)


  1. Cheers for the excellent prompt Sumana - it certainly got the creative juices in action mode.
    Hope all have a wonderful day!
    Anna :o]

  2. Love the examples you've chosen. I wrote about Athena and her owl, one of my favorite tropes.

  3. Wonderful to see you here, Shay. I love owls. Will be back with whatever owl i find lurking in the attic. Thanks for the prompt, Sumana.

  4. Thanks for another Wednesday nudge Sumana


  5. I love that Thomas poem ... and Hemingway, and owls.

  6. I'm still on the road, folks. I'll be late to the party!

  7. Good Evening - I wrote a small piece to honor the owl. I love the Emily Dickinson poem you selected to share. Thanks

  8. Evening, Poets! Thanks, Sumana, for this week's Midweek Motif! :)

  9. Thank you for the owl prompt, Sumana! I love listening to the owls in our garden and this Midweek Motif came at just the right time.


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