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On the Bluff Overlooking Grandfather Falls
CJ Muchhala


Twilight. Late autumn. A whoosh of wings above,
so close I instinctively duck. A barred owl
lands on an oak branch not five feet from where I walk
and turns its black-plastic eyes on me. Transfixed,
I watch it watching me. Neither moves. The woods still.
Finally I start walking. The owl follows, winging
from branch to branch as if weaving the air overhead.
Unsettled, I turn back and round the bend toward the cabin.
Again my escort swoops and perches. Silhouetted
against a window, yellow-lit, that owl
watched me watching it until I disappeared inside.
Some believe in spirits or in messages from beyond.
This life gives all the glory I can handle.
This poem first appeared in Birdsong: Poems in Celebration of Birds (Foothills Publishing, 2016).
Used here with the author’s permission.


CJ Muchhala lives in Shorewood,Wisconsin near Lake Michigan, but maintains a getaway on the Wisconsin River. Her poetry, fiction, and children's stories have been published in a variety of online and print journals, anthologies, and art/poetry exhibits. When she's not writing, CJ says she enjoys gardening "using the 'benign neglect theory," and baking bread "following the 5-minute method."



Post New Comment:
What a marvelous experience. Your last line says it all, " This life gives all the glory I can handle." Your owl follows me now in my head. Very visceral
Posted 12/01/2018 09:47 PM
I can see all of this, having spent time in the Wisconsin North Woods. Beautiful poem.
Posted 12/01/2018 08:58 AM
Mary Lou Taylor:
Beautifully stated. Nature has a way of capturing our attention and lets us go deep into our hearts.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:42 PM
"black-plastic eyes" - I love it! And the ending - what an experience, what a poem!
Posted 11/30/2018 05:03 PM
Mara Ptacek: Great Poem, Carolyn. What an exciting experience! Having an owl so dedicated to following you!! Please send it my may so I can watch it closely as it walks the ledge of my front window.
Posted 11/30/2018 02:58 PM
Janet Leahy:
Wonderful how the owl is "weaving the air overhead." I can see the "black plastic eyes" and hear the swoops of the owl. Thanks CJ
Posted 11/30/2018 11:09 AM
Interesting take on a feeling we all have had at one time or another. Very insightful.
Posted 11/30/2018 09:01 AM
Glen Sorestad:
It's a very fine poem to start my day, especially because the owl is such a powerful bird figure in our literature and lore. Thank you, CJ.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:58 AM
Connections to all things!!!
Posted 11/30/2018 08:55 AM
Great closing lines! They bring the poem to a satisfying conclusion.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:39 AM
Posted 11/30/2018 08:20 AM
Larry Schug:
Mystery on the wings of words.
Posted 11/30/2018 08:12 AM
Ah Birdsong! I love that book. Lovely poem, CJ
Posted 11/30/2018 06:53 AM
Marvelously understated.
Posted 11/30/2018 12:55 AM

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