Last week I dreamed a dream so disturbing that I was afraid to google its meaning and asked the Painter to do so for me. The closest interpretation I can find says it’s about something you once dreamed of doing, he said. You want to reclaim something you’ve lost in yourself.
The interpretation hit me hard. Thinking about it over the next few days, I kept remembering a late afternoon almost twenty years ago when I was wandering trail-less through a quiet forest. At one point I stopped and looked up and met the eyes of an owl looking back at me. This was the first time I had ever seen a living owl. I tilted my head to take it in, and the owl tilted its head the same way. Back and forth we went, observing each other. I don’t know exactly what that owl or this poem below –a poem I’ve held in my heart ever since I first read it–have to do with my terrible, galvanizing dream. But I intend to figure it out.
Owls in the City Hills, by D.R. Goodman
how they hunt us,
casting their deep vowels like feathered hooks,
to pull us from shallow sleep or simple talk,
and out to the night, the stand of eucalyptus
a looming silhouette, the black above us;
we, barefoot on the littered deck, and blind,
stare wide into the dark and hear the sound
move eerily from tree to tree around us;
our backs to the spreading net of city lights
below, we’ve nothing but the trees, our eyes,
the dark, the sound, these owls we cannot see—
though once at dusk, by chance, I saw one light
and spread its wings, and tinged by copper skies,
lay silence to the city, utterly.
For more information on poet and martial arts expert D.R. Goodman, please click here.