We’re gathering for the Spring Term at Hogwarts and I’m about to move into my dorm.
Hinny, my owl, has gone before me to scope the work to be done. As a reward I have begun her own anthology for daytime reading!
There is a place between an owl
and a tall crowd of equal lines,
a wood of wishbone trees.
Half air, half village,
it murmurs, like the mind upon the brain
and people with carrier bags
walking symmetrically between their hands,
they live like that in a poise of pressures.
The neighbours regard each oddity until it goes . . .
At eight o'clock, I opened the window to the woods
and an owl about the size of a vicar
tumbled across in a boned gown
and then a fleet of owls, throwing the hoot between them,
owls with two faces singing Ave and Ouch Ave and Ouch . . .
and you and I - comprehension burst its container
twice, in that the ear
extends through us beyond the ear -
we grew aware of the villagers
in bird clothes afloat among the trees
singing Libera me Domine Deo
and the disseverence of ourselves,
as if we stood, one dead, the other alone.
Extract from Is Life Worth Living?
'When hazel-nuts wax brown and plump,
And apples rosy-red,
And the owlet hoots from hollow stump,
And the dormouse makes its bed.
At twilight they come out.
Like floating paper glide along lanes,
noiselessly dipping over hedges,
or fanning their ghostly way
around the houses, down the avenues,
ears and eyes set for the kill
The owls that roost in the black yew
Along one limb in solemn state,
And with a red eye look you through,
Are eastern gods; they meditate.
No feather stirs on them, not one,
Until that melancholy hour
When night, supplanting the weak sun,
Resumes her interrupted power.
Their attitude instructs the wise
To shun all action, all surprise.
Suppose there passed a lovely face, —
Who even longs to follow it,
Must feel for ever the disgrace
Of having all but moved a bit.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers
Sous les ifs noirs qui les abritent
Les hiboux se tiennent rangés
Ainsi que des dieux étrangers
Dardant leur oeil rouge. Ils méditent.
Sans remuer ils se tiendront
Jusqu'à l'heure mélancolique
Où, poussant le soleil oblique,
Les ténèbres s'établiront.
Leur attitude au sage enseigne
Qu'il faut en ce monde qu'il craigne
Le tumulte et le mouvement;
L'homme ivre d'une ombre qui passe
Porte toujours le châtiment
D'avoir voulu changer de place.
— Charles Baudelaire
Some say goodnight -- at night --
I say goodnight by day --
Good-bye -- the Going utter me --
Goodnight, I still reply --
For parting, that is night,
And presence, simply dawn --
Itself, the purple on the height