Tag Archives: birds of prey

Of Churchyards and Owls

Walking through the churchyard, as dusk fell, I heard the note of my old friend the owl. On reaching home I closed my bedroom window for it was a chilly evening. However, despite my double-glazing, the cold cry of the owl penetrated into my modern flat.

Ever since moving to the Upper Norwood area in late 1997, I have always been conscious of the owl. Sometimes he disappears for protracted periods but, as sure as eggs are eggs “the fatal bellman” reappears.

Hearing the owl reminds me of my poem which is, appropriately enough entitled “Owl”,

Sometimes

Sometimes I attempt to shout down the birds
And choose
To lose
Myself in words.
But as a dart
Ere long
Their song
Pierces my heart.

On occasions I try
To escape the owl’s cry
And pretend
There is no end
To meet
And sheet.
But as night falls,
He calls to me.

K Morris reading his poem ‘Owl’.

I’ve always felt an affinity with owls. My home is close to a historic park in Upper Norwood (a suburb of Greater London). From time to time, I hear the owls’ eerie cry, which brings to mind thoughts of my own mortality, coupled with the death of King Duncan in Macbeth.

 

Owl

I have lain awake listening for the owl’s cry.
A note that chills
Thrills
Then does die.

One day
This bird of prey
Will carry my soul away,
Or so the supersticious say.

Mice hide
While I, in my pride
Decide
The owl’s erie cry
Signifies that I will die.

The bird has no interest in me
So why can I not be free
From his cry
That to my window nigh
does rise, then, as suddenly, die?

Vampire

The owl’s mournful cry caused the young woman to gaze up into the night sky. Death glided gracefully overhead in search of his prey.

“I salute you my friend” the woman said raising her hand to signify her respect.

Her coal black hair blue in the rising wind. She licked her full red lips and smiled. Briliant white teeth reflected back the light of the moon. She, to was in search of her prey.

Sounds borne on the wings of night

Sounds are incredibly evocative. My home is some 25 minutes walk from several train stations. Occasionally, when the wind is in the right direction and most often at the dead of night when the traffic has ceased I hear the whistle of a train. It is a mournful sound which induces in me feelings of sadness. I am not sure why this should be the case. Perhaps it flows from my perception that there is something about the sound, in and of itself which is evocative of sadness. The speed of the train also reminds me that life is passing by rapidly, we are here now but very soon, like the speeding night train we will be lost in the darkness which for me is symbolic of death.

At other times I hear the hooting of an owl as he hunts in the park next to my home. It is an erie sound which has, in many different cultures been associated with bad luck or death. In Macbeth it is the bird of ill omen which portends the death of Duncan

Lady Macbeth: ”hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the stern’st good-night”.

Whenever I hear the cry of an owl it is of lady Macbeth’s words that I think. However, having said that I love listening to the owl as he hunts for his prey. I can stand for long periods by my open window harkening to his call.

Some sounds produce feelings of rest and contentment. I love listening to the sound of running water. It is hypnotic and soothes me when I feel tired or stressed.

Of course the lack of sound can be wonderful. To sit in tranquillity reading or just relaxing is very necessary to the human spirit.