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Books & Poetry

Poem: The Owls

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Pat Lee of Adelaide looks at the mopoke – an Australian representative of those symbols of wisdom, owls.

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Lee feels that in today’s consumer-driven, fast-paced world, many in society don’t connect with or even notice the natural world around them any more. She would like her poetry to encourage otherwise.

The Owls

Ninox boobook

Over tangled dead wood tucked with cobwebs
veils of green conceal their world.
Here they sit side by side or apart,
one up, one down and yet together,
snoozing nod-eyed, closed-eyed sleep,
or wondrous, round-eyed, winking.
Some days perching in the pittosporum
they merge with mottled leaves
almost unseen, half hid,
watching us watching them
through the lounge room window.

Quiet and at one with the garden’s heartbeat
they ignore the daily chatter and din:
menacing mynahs’ scratching shrieks,
bobbing blackbirds’ anxious alarms,
and the tiresome twitters of tits.

As evening’s blush folds into gold,
day’s azure deepening to lapis,
they preen and stretch,
then featherly-fluffed as one they kiss,
and move apart in readiness.

No flicker, flinch or eyelash wink,
a sudden silent drop,
flying past us on a velvet wing beat.

Distinct from our timed-world
of wake up alarms and always-bells,
telling us we are due or overdue,
to go and do, be and get,
they appear when early light tinges the east.
Beige, brown they softly merge with mottled leaves
as we rise to meet the tin-rhythm of our next day.

Pat Lee began writing poetry in 2011 and joined Friendly Street Poets in 2012. First published in the 2013 Friendly Street Poetry Reader 37, her poems have since appeared in other Friendly Street Readers, and in a number of other poetry publications in Australia and New Zealand. Lee, who has Parkinson’s disease, received an Arts SA Richard Llewellyn Arts & Disability emerging artist mentorship grant in 2014.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.
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