Tuesday, October 7, 2008

OSI: The Harbinger of Night

Great Horned Owl photo by Kathie Adams Brown 8-8-08

In dusky light I walk

my dog tethered to me
the desert landscape spread before me

like a thorny blanket

when the hooting of an owl

calls to me from the canyon.

Below me in the twilight

with a half moon rising

on silent wings the dark bulk flies

up into desert skies

and lands on a Palo Verde tree

less than fifty feet from me

rotating its horned and feathered head

it locks amber eyes on my frozen form,

while the dog tugs impatiently on the leash.

I stand breathless and silent

with the desert chorus singing

their nighttime lullaby

--whit WHEET! the trasher,
--tink, tink, tink, the black-throated sparrow,
--squeak! squeak! squeak! the Gila woodpecker,

and while the cactus wren cackles and scolds from the cholla cactus,

The owl and I stare each other down

as minutes pass like desert gnats,

until the harbinger of night

lifts off on ponderous and silent wings

and flies away with my breath.

~Kathie Adams Brown (October 7, 2008)

One Single Impression Prompt 32: Serendipity


  1. Oh my goodness, you are speaking right to me! (I am in Arizona and so love it here). Your poem is just gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wow, this is like a song sung by birds. "flies away with my breath" I love that line! Beautifully written.

  3. I can see and feel the staring down!

  4. It is a really nice photo and poetry!

  5. Kathie, I was walking with you. And just waiting for the next happening for you around the boulder.
    Adi (beagle) and I walk but here sometimes in the mornings not early.
    Our former place had owls, there are a few here but not many.
    I would think your dog might scare that owl. Mine scares away the turtles on logs and the birds on the bulkheads.
    BTW, we have been married 37 years now. I wasn't looking for Mrs. Jim, a wife, or anybody else that night.

  6. Thank you for your visit today, Kathie. And yes, I was definitely taking a look at the dark side of serendipity with this piece. But it is truly much on my mind.

    I enjoyed your poem and especially enjoyed the reference to the cholla cactus. Years ago, when I worked in the Anza Borrego desert, we called them Jumping Cholla because if you passed too closely to them, they would jump out at you. No touching necessary. Big ouch.

  7. I have travelled to a place where I will never travel.

  8. ..a beautiful poem..many thanks..

  9. Owls are awesome birds. This is lovely; all the way through and I could really feel the silent watchers - in the tree and on the ground.

  10. I like the many references to animals and nature...it puts you right in the scene. Beautifully done!

  11. Thank you for this, Kathie--
    Like many other of your fans, am a 'desert-rat', in a good way, of course.

    I love the low desert you speak of...and, although I live in the high desert in Oregon, the low desert has delicacies of plant life and animal life that are magnificent. All life that thrives in the deserts fascinates!

    Thank you for 'the watcher'.

  12. You have captured a most wonderful moment and then translated it into meaningful words and lines to share with others. I can feel the darkness and sense the sounds. Lovely.

  13. Who sees owls just sitting there? What an amazing photo opportunity. The sky behind the owl is fabulous. You took a beautiful, rare moment, and captured it forever. Thank you for sharing!

  14. That's a really great shot. I haven't seen an owl sinceI was a child.

  15. Beautifully Soul-Felt Poem.

  16. This is wonderful--both the photo and the poem!


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