These ghost owls gaze upon us, ghastly patient:
They see enough to wait, and not to stir.
You suppose their ways are so serenely ancient
They are hardly there.
But the omen often lacks its howl at night,
And stares out silences on waiting branches:
At the moment of attack, all owls mid-flight
Are death’s own dancers.
There is a common Western anthropomorphic adage that owls are wise, doddery, gentlemanly old duffers. But there are few sights more balletic and deathly than an owl mid-hunt, its talons poised, wings aloft.