Villanelle with An Owl
Nora Hutton Shepard
What if in the morning the sun did not rise,
the moon was stuck against the sky
and the barn owl flew behind his yellow eyes
over the field mice in their darkened maze
of grasses, over the pigs bedded in their sty
forever sleeping in the dark, the sun did not rise
and the songbirds bundled in their trees
swallowed their notes and would not fly
while the owl pulled through the skies
his screened eyes, the double lids, raptor’s claws,
two eyes in flight, a perpetual spy
that could never rest if the sun didn’t rise?
The moon vine would pop its glory, the prize
of blossom only once. And here, no bees, no butterflies,
just the barn owl flying behind his beacon eyes
through the silhouetted trees, over fields denied
the greening light, the rodents that will die.
What if the sun could never rise,
the owl could never close his eyes?