Years ago, as very few people have known, I was something of a traveler. Not for me those glamorous places of the world, those star flung cities of Cannes, Paris, London, Rome, etc. I was one for exploring exotic realms, largely unknown, with largely unpronounceable names, when they even had names. One evening, as I was camping out in one of these unusual forests, I came to discover a new species of bird, and I’ve chosen to create my poem based upon this experience.
In twilight hours filled with forest glooms
I mused, when, suddenly, weird whirling plumes
Alit from out the dark. The strangest birds
I’ve ever seen! It’s difficult for words
To quite describe them, for, instead of claws,
These avians each had two sets of paws,
And whiskers, ears, and each one had a tail!
These kittenbirds made me strange shades of pale.
And then I noticed where they landed: she,
A mother cat, then mewed and purred with glee.
“Now, Mama, can you tell us how you met
“Oh, of course. Now you all set
Your tails down here. In summer, round midnight,
The moon was one full bowl of cream, and light
Spread over all like butter on warm toast–
I was so ravenous, my kittens, most
Of all I heard one ruffian vile mouse
Carousing in the undergrowth.
Was in my sights, then whoosh, from overhead,
As soft as something from a wedding bed,
A rush of feathers and the sound of wings:
The noise that only massive plumage brings!
From out the sky your father, with a pounce,
And a majestic flurry and a bounce,
Just nabbed that mouse … and I let out a cry
Of famished disappointment.
With a sigh
He landed, and the gentleman he is,
Said “Lovely maiden, pardon me, but is
This mouse sufficient meat to dine upon?”
And left the mouse for me.
I’d no thoughts on
The wise politeness shown by courtly owls:
They’re not a category of the fowls
I’m well acquainted with. With my best thanks
I settled in to dine.
Then, from what ranks
Of rodents he had rattled, one, two, three,
He scooped a few more up for hungry me.
And that, dears’s, when your papa and I met
And how those swift and lofty wings you get.”
And then, in noble poise, she proudly walked
Away. Her happy kit-owls swooped and talked
Of this and that and sundry other things,
And how purrhaps their papa got his wings.