In the dark, an owl


In the dark, an owl,

its gentle cry,

uloo, uloo

a lullaby,

rocks my dreams

in the cradle of the night.

The softest touch,

silent feathers brush

sleeping rooftops,

cat-walked, dainty and sly,

and still rolls the cry,

uloo, uloo,

not for me,

perhaps for you.

The night grows cold,

the stars too brittle and bright,

and somewhere close

the gentle, yearning call,

the fluting, woodwind cry,

the softest fluttered feathers

carry a last breath

into the lullaby-rocking night.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

16 thoughts on “In the dark, an owl”

  1. I feel I’m there, in a city on a quiet night, hearing the “fluting, woodwind cry” myself. Thanks for transporting me somewhere other than I am!

    1. We had them in the small town where we lived before, and in the countryside here, but I’ve never heard one in the city before. It was hooting as I fell asleep, and when I woke a few hours later, I could still hear it, distant, hunting I suppose.

      1. We’re in a sort of suburban area, but near wooded areas and marshes near the river. Years ago on my birthday (in December), it was late afternoon and dusk, I went to pull the shade down on a window, and there was an owl sitting in a tree right across from me.

      2. There’s something so magical and mysterious about owls. I’m glad they are managing to adapt to a suburban lifestyle. In our ‘new’ house we had them nesting in the attic. The first time Nell opened the shutters at her bedroom window, an owl dropped out of the attic window above—it must have been as terrified as Nell!

      3. We’re not suburban like a development, though more trees have been cut down since that time I saw the owl. There is still a lot of “undeveloped” land along the rivers and creeks.
        I bet Nell and the owl were both startled. Oh my! 🙂

  2. In Hindi, owl is called Ulloo. Your poem reminded me why ( Hindi is not my mother tongue). In Hindu religion, owl is the mount of the goddess of wealth ( Goddess Lakshmi).

    1. I didn’t know that! I tried to copy the sound it makes, and it reminds me of the word for ‘howl’ in Italian—ululare. I’ve just noticed that howl is owl with an ‘h’. We could drive ourselves mad like this, flying goddesses, howling owls…

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