19 october 2007

Owl Village

There is a place between an owl
and a tall crowd of equal lines,
a wood of wishbone trees.

Half air, half village,
it murmurs, like the mind upon the brain

and people with carrier bags
walking symmetrically between their hands,
they live like that in a poise of pressures.

The neighbours regard each oddity until it goes . . .


At eight o'clock, I opened the window to the woods
and an owl about the size of a vicar
tumbled across in a boned gown

and then a fleet of owls, throwing the hoot between them,
owls with two faces singing Ave and Ouch Ave and Ouch . . .


and you and I - comprehension burst its container
twice, in that the ear
extends through us beyond the ear -

we grew aware of the villagers
in bird clothes afloat among the trees
singing Libera me Domine Deo

and the disseverence of ourselves,
as if we stood, one dead, the other alone.

- Alice Oswald