Calling the Owl

This time the owl eludes us

The way the poem starts with, "This time the owl eludes us..." makes the reader curious; what other times have there been? –Patty Schlutt, age 15

where we stand trying to call him in
                        with his own voice
which we've captured on tape
to release to the predawn woods.

“Release” is a great word to show how the tape is played. –Olivia Ezinga, age 15
It is interesting to think of the recording as “his own voice.” –Hannah Flemming, age 14

Press a button. The air flutters,

Flutters is a great word to describe the noises coming out of the box. –Hannah Flemming, age 14
This is a new and unique way to say they rewound and played the tape of the owl's call, it makes the tape player seem alive. –Patty Schlutt, age 15

rushing from out black box
                  what is hidden from us--
wing-like quaverings--
        soft bursts of song.

This is a wonderful opening image, trying to coax a glimpse of nature using an electronic mimicry of it. The first two stanzas are properly paced and beautifully phrased. -Kyle Austin, age 21

If light mutes him, shadows offer hope,

That “shadows offer hope” is a statement that suggests darkness holds equally as much the possibility for redemption as we believe the light to be. “[W]hat is invisible, wild and nearly gone” is a line that echoes a “shadow” of hope, the word “nearly” implies that it still remains regardless of how fleeting or diminished it may be. –Zachary Tomaszewski, age 21

and we listen so intently into them
                         the snowy meadow

I like the placement of some of the lines, such as “the snowy meadow,”, “don’t disappear”, and “fill me, give voice”. It adds a nice emphasis. –Olivia Ezinga, age 15
This winter image is well-built throughout these two lines. –Patty Schlutt, age 15

suddenly seems wider, brighter
with news from beyond its perimeter.

I love the idea of “listening intently” into the shadows, as though nature reveals its secrets in tones barely audible to the human ear. There is a sense of secrecy about the nature described here which the human subjects are obviously drawn to. They yearn for that which is “invisible, wild, and nearly gone.” -Kyle Austin, age 21

Don't lift, I almost pray,
                        don't disappear.
Day will break soon enough.
Let us hear your faint vibrato and absorb

I love the description of the “faint vibrato sound.” The use of adjectives in this poem is amazing! –Aubrey Frey, age 13

what is invisible, wild and nearly gone.
Mist thickens the silence, promises
patience, echo, sound not sight.
I will let that fluty tremolo find,
                  fill me, give voice
to emptiness. I hold my breath to sustain
        the long vowel of night.

Night as a vowel is a brilliant way to tie the night, the owl, and his cry all together in four words. –Patty Schlutt, age 15
It’s quite interesting that this poem focuses on the auditory experience of nature rather than the visual experience, “sound not sight”. Perhaps the poet is suggesting that sight and visual perception alone are not enough for us to understand our natural environment, not enough for us to connect deeply with it. “The long vowel of the night” is a beautiful image with which to end the poem. –Kyle Austin, age 21
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.