We lived in a house of owls
their planetary eyes tracking
my childhood years; sentinels,
strangely silent, always still.
One in particular, the long-eared
eagle – Bubo bubo – haunted
my sleep. He watched me, waiting,
his unblinking eyes: Jupiter and Mars.
Now, by night, in a garden,
the cry that comes unexpected
through the city, resonant,
the soft bass exhalation – ooh hu –
is a portal, a calling, and I am
instantly deep in the dream-forest
of the past, tracing journeys
on mist breath and moon wing,
hunting through trees in ecstatic
silence, flying low along the old lane
towards the sea and then out into
openness; intent, ethereal, apex.
Ben Tufnell is a curator and writer based in London. His work can be found in the Rialto, Fire, Terrible Work, Shearsman and others, and is forthcoming from Anthropocene and La Piccioletta Barca. His most recent book is In Land: Writings Around Land Art and Its Legacies (Zero Books, 2019).
author photo by Cecilia Gregory
featured photo: lithograph by John Craxton