Barn Owls in Suffolk

By Seán Hewitt

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.

Credits

Part of the Coole Park Poetry Series, produced with Druid and shot at Coole Park as part of DruidGregory.

Seán Hewitt, "Barn Owls in Suffolk," from Tongues of Fire (Jonathan Cape, 2020). Used with permission of the publisher.