Guest poem sent in by an anonymous member:
(Poem #1844) A Barred Owl
The warping night-air having brought the boom Of an owl's voice into her darkened room, We tell the wakened child that all she heard Was an odd question from a forest bird, Asking of us, if rightly listened to, "Who cooks for you?" and then "Who cooks for you?" Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear, Can also thus domesticate a fear, And send a small child back to sleep at night Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.
As the parent of a young child myself, it is easy for me to relate to what the poet calls the easy "domestication of fear" . It is probably the eternal conundrum of the parent, treading the line between a desire to protect and the truth. Richard Wilbur has a stark sense of the violence that lurks in the mundane. The last line sends chills up my spine. [Links] There is an excellent recording of the poet reading the "Barred Owl" at The Poetry Archive: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=1672 Previous Wilbur Poems on Minstrels (with biography): http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1116.html Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wilbur