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On the Bluff Overlooking Grandfather Falls
by
CJ Muchhala


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Twilight. Late autumn. A whoosh of wings above,
so close I instinctively duck. A barred owl
lands on an oak branch not five feet from where I walk
and turns its black-plastic eyes on me. Transfixed,
I watch it watching me. Neither moves. The woods still.

Finally I start walking. The owl follows, winging
from branch to branch as if weaving the air overhead.
Unsettled, I turn back and round the bend toward the cabin.
Again my escort swoops and perches. Silhouetted
against a window, yellow-lit, that owl
watched me watching it until I disappeared inside.

Some believe in spirits or in messages from beyond.
This life gives all the glory I can handle.

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This poem first appeared in Birdsong: Poems in Celebration of Birds (Foothills Publishing, 2016).
Used here with the authorís permission.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

CJ Muchhala lives in Wisconsin, within walking distance of that Great Lake, Michigan, but in spring and fall youíll find her in the north woods, where she has seen a bear with four cubs and listened to the music of bullfrogs on the Wisconsin River. CJ's poetry, fiction, and children's stories have been published in a variety of on-line and print journals, in anthologies and art/poetry exhibits, and have been nominated for regional and national awards (even won a few!).

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Post New Comment:
Jo:
What a marvelous experience. Your last line says it all, " This life gives all the glory I can handle." Your owl follows me now in my head. Very visceral
Posted 12/01/2018 09:47 PM
TheSilverOne:
I can see all of this, having spent time in the Wisconsin North Woods. Beautiful poem.
Posted 12/01/2018 08:58 AM
Mary Lou Taylor:
Beautifully stated. Nature has a way of capturing our attention and lets us go deep into our hearts.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:42 PM
barbsteff:
"black-plastic eyes" - I love it! And the ending - what an experience, what a poem!
Posted 11/30/2018 05:03 PM
maraptacek@gmail.com:
Mara Ptacek: Great Poem, Carolyn. What an exciting experience! Having an owl so dedicated to following you!! Please send it my may so I can watch it closely as it walks the ledge of my front window.
Posted 11/30/2018 02:58 PM
Janet Leahy:
Wonderful how the owl is "weaving the air overhead." I can see the "black plastic eyes" and hear the swoops of the owl. Thanks CJ
Posted 11/30/2018 11:09 AM
wordartdjc:
Interesting take on a feeling we all have had at one time or another. Very insightful.
Posted 11/30/2018 09:01 AM
Glen Sorestad:
It's a very fine poem to start my day, especially because the owl is such a powerful bird figure in our literature and lore. Thank you, CJ.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:58 AM
paradea:
Connections to all things!!!
Posted 11/30/2018 08:55 AM
mjorlock:
Great closing lines! They bring the poem to a satisfying conclusion.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:39 AM
cork:
Spooky!
Posted 11/30/2018 08:20 AM
Larry Schug:
Mystery on the wings of words.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:12 AM
paula:
Ah Birdsong! I love that book. Lovely poem, CJ
Posted 11/30/2018 06:53 AM
KevinArnold:
Marvelously understated.
Posted 11/30/2018 12:55 AM


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