The Owl Cries At Night
by Freya Manfred
The owl cries at night,
and I imagine her wide gold eyes
and feathered ears tuned
to the trembling woods and waters,
seeing and hearing what
I will never see or hear:
a red fox with one bloody paw,
a hunch-backed rabbit running,
sand grains grating on the shore,
a brown leaf crackling
under a brown mouse foot.
With so much to learn,
I could stop writing forever,
and still live well.
You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Turtle.
To A Young Artist
by Freya Manfred
My poems are written by a spirit on a stone,
and there are many tellers, many stories, and many stones,
in honor of our braided paths and solitary ways.
Now, at sunset, I’m called to where water merges with land and sky,
where an eagle drops from a tall pine, dips her beak into darkening waves,
rises with a flapping silver fish, and flies away.
I wish you work that weaves a spell, and love,
and breath–uncounted, irretrievable, sacred breath,
flying from its cage of bones–eagle falling, fish-rising, free.
You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.
This Stranger, My Husband
By Freya Manfred
The older we get the stranger my husband becomes,
and the less certain I am that I know him.
We used to lie eye to eye, breathing together
in the immensity of each moment.
Lithe and starry-eyed, we could leap fences
even with babies on our backs.
His eyes still dream off
toward something in the distance I can’t see;
but now he gazes more zealously,
and leaps into battle with a more certain voice
over politics, religion, or art,
and some old friends won’t come to dinner.
The molecules of our bodies spiral off into the stars
on winds of change and chance,
as we welcome the unknown, the incalculable,
the spirit and heart of everything we named and knew so well—
and never truly named, or knew,
but only loved, at last.
You can find this poem in Speak, Mother.