Loren Eiseley

Winter Visitant

From Prairie Schooner

This owl, white-winged upon my chimney top,
One with the unseen presences of air
Has come through winter with a single stop
Upon the blizzards from his Arctic lair.
He knows the shifting forms that moisture takes—
The freezing crystals of the upper void.
He scans indifferently the falling flakes
That make his world; his hunger is not cloyed.
The city is not real to him at all,
He takes it for a perch upon the blast
After a meal of field mice, and will fall
Asleep a moment, judging it will last
Firm for an owl’s claw till the time he’ll flit
Up through the dark, and let snow cover it.

Reprinted from Prairie Schooner Vol XVII No 4 (Winter 1943) by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1943 by the University of Nebraska Press.