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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU München, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. He teaches English at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis. He is also the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured.

20171019

A Barred Owl

by Richard Wilbur


The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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