A castaway blown south from the arctic tundra
sits on a stump in an abandoned farmer’s field.
Beyond the dunes cattails toss and bend as snappy
as the surf, rushing and crashing down the jetty.

His head a swivel of round glances,
his eyes a deeper yellow than the winter sun,
he wonders if the spot two hundred feet away
is a mouse on the crawl from mud hole
to deer-grass patch.

An hour of wind and sleet whips the air,
nothing darts or passes but the river underground.
A North Pole creature shows us how to last.
The wind ruffles his feathers from crown to claw

while he gazes into zeroes the salt-slick rain.
As a double-rainbow before us arcs
sky and owl, we leave him surrendering
to the echo of his white refrain.

  • Duane Niatum, “Snowy Owl Near Ocean Shores.” Copyright © by Duane Niatum. Reprinted by permission of the author.

  • Source: Drawings of the Song Animals (Holy Cow! Press, 1996)

Poet Bio

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"Even people who don't particularly enjoy most forms of poetry can still find a poem that they enjoy AND be very good at reciting if they set their minds to it. What makes poetry so appealing is its ability to describe all sorts of different aspects of the human experience in a new and unique light. There is a poem out there for everyone. Even my dad...maybe."
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