Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Friday, February 5, 2010

IF THE OWL CALLS AGAIN, by John Haines

(Dusk as seen from Penelope's window in Portland, Oregon)



I've been rummaging through the boxes of old class hand-outs, letters, drafts, and lord knows all sorts of other stuff I've saved over the years. It's depressing how much clutter we writers accumulate, most of which we will never really use but which we keep thinking we might. If I could live several lifetimes I might get around to taking this quote or that article or this rough draft and making something of it. But I know I won't. Still, it's hard to let go of some things. Like this poem I found by John Haines, one I used a long time ago in a class. It spoke to the way I've been feeling lately in the midst of this winter weather, watching the birds outside, wondering how the animals get through the long winter nights.





IF THE OWL CALLS AGAIN





at dusk


from the island in the river,


and it's not too cold,





I'll wait for the moon


to rise,


then take wing and glide


to meet him.





We will not speak,


but hooded against the frost


soar above


the alder flats, searching


with tawny eyes.





And then we'll sit


in the shadowy spruce and


pick the bones


of careless mice,





while the long moon drifts


toward Asia


and the river mutters


in its icy bed.





And when morning climbs


the limbs


we'll part without a sound,


fulfilled, floating


homeward as


the cold world awakens.






(John Haines)

6 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

I love this poem. I often daydream about how nice it would be to be in a bird or animal's body -- to be one of my dogs on an adventure up the mountain or perhaps to be a hawk.

Once I spent some time following a soaring red-tailed hawk in my binoculars and almost achieved that feeling -- so that when I put the binoculars down, for a moment I was disoriented to be back on earth.

jessie carty said...

this poem is so relaxing. the image of the climbing moon against the limbs is amazing.

i still have papers from high school, handwritten no less, that i keep thinking maybe i'll use someday :)

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, I've wished the same thing. I would love to find out how it feels to see and smell the word from a bobcat's brain, from a wolf's, even my smelly dogs, all 4 of which are inside now.
We watched a hawk circling into the sun one noon while we were having lunch on the Pinnacle over Sylva. It just disappeared right into the sun Do you know Ralph Vaugh Williams' The Lark Ascending? One of my favorite pieces of music. It gives the same sense as your experience withe the soaring hawk.
Jessie, I've so many handwritten pages and many of them so old that the writing has become smudged and hard to read. Frustrating. Did I really write that, I ask myself, since now at my late age, I can't remember doing a lot of it.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I want to write a poem one day about how we all go through the throwing out of things this time of year. Maybe because we are shut in from the weather, but in winter, I and my friends begin to tackle the boxes of papers, letters, things we planned to read one day, things we hoped to make one day, paint one day, etc. but never got around to it.
Perhaps this fits the pattern that we humans fit into this time of year. We want to make a new beginning, so we throw out the old to make way for the new, but I just can't seem to let it all go. Only a few bits and pieces go, and I continue to keep the box.
Thanks for the poem.

Anonymous said...

I came upon this page in a moment of desperate loneliness. I asked my animal spirit guide to be shown to me today and first i saw a mouse. Then i smelled the needles of a tree. I knew suddenly, out of no where, my animal protector is an Owl.
I tried to listen to my spirit guides, and randomly typed in Haines Owl in google search. That is how i found this wonderful poem.
Strength and precision is what I have personally gained from this poem. I am so very happy that there are people who's life purpose is to create beautiful works of art...with out them I would surely be depressed more days than not.
Thanks to all
much love

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seem to get there! Many thanks.