The eye looks back

The pure white arctic owl
arrived one grey Saturday
and sat solidly all day atop
the weathered clothesline pole
at the back corner of our lot
near the edge of the winter woods.
His head swivelled almost full circle
all day, like a ship’s radar
he scoped his temporary realm
until he became a white rotor
factory approved, still under warranty
and I forgot he was there disturbing
every mouse, every chickadee
every thing else but humans, but me;

In St. Peter’s Anglican Church in our town,
very High Church for a small city
very high in the wall is a limestone plaque
a memorial to the first priest to lead the congregation
so long ago the date means little
except to tell us we have forgotten him.
But we have not forgotten his name:
Salter Jehosephat Mountain DD.
That name chiseled into the stone plaque
has a solidity, a kind of Biblical righteousness
that needs to be played by mythical Moses
it is as if the name has outperformed the man
in this age no one would name a child
Salter Jehosephat Mountain with or without the DD

So I reflect on this as I return to watch the owl
and in my revery, call the owl
Salter Jehosephat Mountain DD
and swivels around
looks at me intently
I standing in my window
he perched on the pole
and I begin to feel nervous
perhaps this is an intelligence
looking back at me saying
if you look into the abyss
the abyss looks back

I return to the words on the stone
high on the church wall
his story is there too
and outside behind the church
a plot of flat stones cover
the graves of his family

Later I look out at the pole
Salter Jehosephat Mountain DD is gone.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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