Poem 20151231

signs and portents on
viewing an owl in flight
and stationary in a tree
and again in flight
on the last night of the year

the owl, athena’s friend
and harbinger of eternal night,
paused in her flight long enough
for us to view her in a tree

tawny and silent she watched us
and allowed us to approach her tree
while holding her in the beam
of a flashlight

and then she flew again
wings silent
all we could hear were the sounds
of nearby freeway traffic
so much like unceasing waves

the day before we had seen
five hawks
sentinels on lamp posts
lining the road during a drive
and counted ourselves lucky
–a five-hawk day

but what does this night predator
so beautiful and silent
caught for a moment in her flight
in the white artificial light
in my hand
portend for the year ahead?