I watch them for a long while,
the pair rising and courting the field
in daylight, the strange geometry
of their faces funnelling the air,
and everything – their whiteness,
their sense of having slipped
through from another world,
their focus on the hunt –
in the end it all comes down
to their silence –
the way each feather disperses
the air, how each wavers –
and I wonder what omen it is
to see two barn owls hunting
in mid-morning, so quietly
secretive, for surely
there is something in the slow
spread of the wing, the moment
of inverted flight, the living thing
pulled from the earth and lifted.
blushing lucy, our beth, betty prior, ruby
ruby, princess of wales, dainty bess, april
moon, our molly. julia’s kiss, emily, mum
in a million, my darling wife. ann’s beautiful
daughter. forever irene, sheila’s perfume.
my joy, my lovely mum. love knot, sweet
briar. absent friend, our special child.
miss alice, old rosemary, bloom of ruth.
for times past, white mary, pray for us.
Seán Hewitt won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2016 and was selected as one of The Poetry Trust’s ‘Aldeburgh Eight’ in 2015. His poems have been published in Poetry (Chicago), The Poetry Review and The New Statesman, amongst others.