Now is the midnight hour
When all respectable denizens of this forest are a-roost.
Only when the twilight has surrendered to the near total darkness
Of a pepper-sprinkled, moonless vault is the owl truly a-wing.
X-ray eyes strip the trees naked,
Their black cloaks transparent as spidersí gossamers
To the hungry, airborne killing machine
Who, at a secondís notice, hovers over and swoops down
Onto a hapless rodent,
Tearing it limb from limb with cruel talons
And benign-looking yet malign jaws.
The old man of the night is a shrieking demon,
A creature from Hell who gorges on his prey,
Wolfing it down almost half-alive,
Spewing up what he cannot digest as crude pellets.
Standing aloft and aloof in the high branches,
He preens his feathers,
Spreads his wings,
And prepares to take to the sky once more
In search of a kill and a meal.
The owl is all demon, all machine,
Ruthlessly efficient, merciless;
A ship of the air with fire in his heart,
Taloned claws sharp as razored steel,
And every bit as cold.
[Fuck you, Ted Hughes.]
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