"The bird is not as big as
it looks" say those who measure
with a finger
poked through feathers to body.

What nonsense. The owl is entire
of itself, massive in a coat of
soft plumes, and the perfect outline
of its round head is what the bird is,
no more, no less.

Each feather's tip is sensitive
to touch, a part of the bird
as leaves are part of a tree,
transient as molted feathers.
Twigs, buds and hidden roots
make a tree; the maple with its
distinctive shape, the symmetry of
a spruce . . . who would question
where the tree begins?

All those feathers can be moved,
compressed, fluffed out
expressing changing moods or
responding to weather.

True, its light feathers
are easily ruffled by
the wind, as a girl's hair,
another part of its charm.

If the size of a bird
is judged by its spirit
then this bird is even bigger
than it looks.

Robert W. Nero


Return to Owl Poems