Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

 

Great Horned Owl

(A Rondeau Cinquain)

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.

Great Horned Owl, predator of night,

With silent stealth and searing sight,

Fierce hunters in the nighttime skies

Whose quiet wings bring quick surprise.

Small things beware when they take flight.

.
There’s instant death when talons bite,

As owls swoop down from hidden height,

Ravenous hunger in keen eyes

.
Great Horned Owl, predator of night,

With silent stealth and searing sight,

Fierce hunters in the nighttime skies

.
But when dawn breaks, they soon alight

To roost and doze in bright daylight.

At dusk begins distinguished cries,

“Ho Ho Hoo Hoo” their lullabies

Sounds that fill the quiet twilight

.
Great Horned Owl, predator of night,

With silent stealth and searing sight,

Fierce hunters in the nighttime skies

Whose quiet wings bring quick surprise.

Small things beware when they take flight.

.

Author Notes

The Great Horned Owl is a fascinating raptor. According to Wikipedia, the Great Horned Owl, (Bubo virginianus), also known as the Tiger Owl, is a large owl native to the Americas. The combination of the species’ bulk, prominent ear-tufts and barred plumage distinguishes it. Since owls are perhaps the main predator of crows and their young, crows sometimes congregate from considerable distances to mob owls and caw angrily at them. Owls have spectacular binocular vision, allowing them to pinpoint prey and see in low light. The eyes of a Great Horned Owl and are immobile within their circular bone sockets. As a result, instead of turning its eyes, an owl must turn its whole head, the neck capable of rotating a full 270 degrees. Owls also have approximately 300 pounds per square inch (PSI) of crushing power in their talons. Almost all prey is killed with the owl’s talons, often instantly. According to one author, “Almost any living creature that walks, crawls, flies, or swims, except the large mammals, is the great horned owl’s legitimate prey”. The Great Horned is also a natural predator of prey two to three times heavier than itself such as porcupines, marmots and skunks. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Horned Owl is the only regular avian predator of skunks. Birds also compose a large portion of a Great Horned Owl’s diet, ranging in size from kinglets to Great Blue Herons and young swans. Regular avian prey includes woodpeckers, grouse, crows, pigeons, herons, gulls, quail, and turkey. Waterbirds, especially coots and ducks, are hunted fairly often; even raptors, up to the size of Red-tailed Hawks and Snowy Owls, are sometimes taken. Even cats and dogs my become prey.


This poem is a Rondeau Cinquain.

A Rondeau is a form of medieval and Renaissance French poetry that utilize a repeated line, or lines, know as a refrain. In larger rondeau variants, each of the structural sections may consist of several verses, although the overall sequence of sections remains the same. Variants include the rondeau tercet, where the refrain consists of three verses, the rondeau quatrain, where it consists of four (and, accordingly, the whole form of sixteen), and the rondeau cinquain, with a refrain of five verses (and a total length of 21), which becomes the norm in the 15th century.

In the rondeau cinquain the rhyme sequence is: A1,A2,B1,B2,A3 – aab – A1,A2,B1 – aabba – A1,A2,B1B2,A3, where the capital letters represent the repeated refrains.


This photograph of the Great Horned Owl was taken by the author himself at Fort Snelling State Park along the river bottoms of the Mississippi River.

 

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Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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