Barn Owl Poem by Gwen Harwood

Barn Owl

Rating: 4.0


Daybreak: the household slept.
I rose, blessed by the sun.
A horny fiend, I crept
out with my father's gun.
Let him dream of a child
obedient, angel-mind-

old no-sayer, robbed of power
by sleep. I knew my prize
who swooped home at this hour
with day-light riddled eyes
to his place on a high beam
in our old stables, to dream

light's useless time away.
I stood, holding my breath,
in urine-scented hay,
master of life and death,
a wisp-haired judge whose law
would punish beak and claw.

My first shot struck. He swayed,
ruined, beating his only
wing, as I watched, afraid
by the fallen gun, a lonely
child who believed death clean
and final, not this obscene

bundle of stuff that dropped,
and dribbled through the loose straw
tangling in bowels, and hopped
blindly closer. I saw
those eyes that did not see
mirror my cruelty

while the wrecked thing that could
not bear the light nor hide
hobbled in its own blood.
My father reached my side,
gave me the fallen gun.
'End what you have begun.'

I fired. The blank eyes shone
once into mine, and slept.
I leaned my head upon
my father's arm, and wept,
owl blind in early sun
for what I had begun

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Square Cutter 25 February 2014

subsribe 2 my utube chenl

16 65 Reply
Rich Persoff 03 January 2014

This is the finest and most honest poem I have read in weeks and weeks!

18 30 Reply
Peter File 23 August 2018

hey guy how's it going. just finished bouncing on my boys Johnson to this poem. love the part with the owl it was pretty epic. I love the way Gwen Hard Wood talks about her father, pretty crazy. anyway I'm out hope everyone has a wonderful day and may communism reign on.

26 12 Reply
freak 08 December 2018

you stupid, imagine going on to a site called poem hunter to make a meme comment kys

0 6 Reply
Faah Got 27 February 2019

Very cool, very cool.

0 0 Reply
Emily 19 March 2022

No Experience Needed, No Boss Over il Your FD Shoulder… Say Goodbye To Your Old Job! Limited Number Of Spots Open…… worksful.com

0 0 Reply
Chinedu Dike 18 March 2022

A beautiful creation nicely put together.

0 0 Reply
Kevin Patrick 17 March 2022

A scene of her life, captured beautifully in words forever. A wonderful poem!

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 17 March 2022

5 Stars for this amazing write. Congratulations being The Modern Poem Of The Day. What a nasty experience for the young girl and very sad that the owl died. Brilliant poem!

0 0 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 17 March 2022

This can happen if there is always a gun in the house, a sad event makes a beautiful poem, the truth already consumed, written by one of the best poetesses in Australia. Her last residence was Tasmania

0 0 Reply
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Gwen Harwood

Gwen Harwood

Taringa, Queensland
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