David Hay

The Owl

An owl enters the centre of darkness and voices nature’s
Pain unending, silent, present in the leaves,
The way they fall, the way they land,

As we together after hurtful words mumbled and sighed
But never clearly spoken, listen only to its midnight cries
As it looks with piercing light
Into the open windows of our skulls.

A crime has been committed,
An act of coldness, of abandonment
When tenderness should have reigned.
I turned away too quickly,
Turned inward from the world
And with petty words made comments on time;
How it binds my obsessions
And leaves no room for the heart’s desperate needs.

In our bed,
Turning with the weight on your side,
I reach out and try to break
The bonds of separate lives,
But with well-rehearsed precision you
Parry my clumsy attempts at apology
And with numbness retreat into swollen depths,
Unexplored by male hands.

I sink into the hole of the head,
Allowing you to fester in doubt,
Until sleep escorts your voiceless self
Into your singular oblivion.

I hear the owl crying once more;
I am lost in the silent hours.
When it speaks all of nature understands
But I am dumb to its calls, which penetrate bark and stone,
And the distance between our bodies is like a waking

David is an English Teacher, who discovered his love of poetry when by chance came across John Keats when he was nineteen. Since then its beauty and its ability to give life meaning has obsessed him.