Late at night, strange cries break through the vale,
And in that echo, the soft beat of wings;
A messenger from far beyond the pale,
His lesson in the warning that he brings.
With glowing eyes he peers through our shadows,
And unaffected, seeks our inner guise,
which finding, he gives keys to doors once closed,
where wisdom waits that we must recognize.
The night that shimmers secretly, his range,
and there in esoteric mists we find
that much of what we seek is not so strange,
but blurs our sense of past and future time.
A mystery to those who fear the night,
The owl patrols the edges of the light.
Alone in darkness there in the cypress,
a shadow ‘gainst the moon, he travels light;
his wariness a shield against loneliness,
he withdraws from the day and seeks the night.
The lesson that he brings is to reach out,
be less discerning, holding self apart;
a cool detachment watching from without
is oft defense protecting tender heart.
There is no need for secrecy, he cries,
that we begin again is nature’s fact;
and each initiation, as we die,
brings life anew to those who take its path.
Exposing our shy hearts to loss and risk,
the owl bids us to return from the mists.
From my 2001 project to describe each of the totem animals identified in the Druid Animal Oracle, written by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Bill Worthington, based on its Celtic/Druidic symbolism using the English sonnet form.