Walls and the Owl

by Paul Hooker

Our lady of the mournful mien
cloaked and draped in feathered shawl
asks her question, true and keen
that echoes from the trees as tall

as any medieval spire
it furrows heaven if it pass
this way, and should that not transpire,
it settles softly in the grass

beyond the glade, at last to bear
its muted witness, dying soft
between cathedral walls of air,
of peat below and cloud aloft.

At evening’s hour I passed along
the path before the woodland door
and there heard it, clear and strong
and thought it was intended for

another, but listened nonetheless,
reflected on its fear and thrall,
and wondered why in what distress
we must draw lines; we must build walls.

But soon enough the thought occurred
that walls do not discriminate
among the ears that hear the word
to gather or to separate

but beg the question in the air
of difference between the two:
the one is here, the other there
but deserving of the birthright, who?