Two of them are talking in the woods.
The night’s so still and bright with moon that he
Lies staring on his pillow. Almost, it’s words
He hears tossed back and forth from tree to tree.
Almost, it’s wind whose wings slip past the window,
Wavering the light. Almost, it’s silence,
Almost ghost. From bed he sees the shadow
Pass bodiless across the whitewashed grass.
Now from the nearest hemlock tree it calls,
Again is answered distantly. Awake,
He listens as he might for change-rung bells,
The high, the low, air-shaking give-and-take
That names an hour, declares a holy day.
What time is it? You, you, the voices say.

Sally Thomas

Sally Thomas's new book, Motherland, was a finalist for the 2018 Able Muse Book Award in poetry, and will appear from Able Muse Press in the fall of 2019. She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: Fallen Water (2015) and Richeldis of Walsingham (2016), both from Finishing Line Press. Her poetry and fiction have appeared recently in The Agonist, Forma, Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women, North Carolina Literary Review, The Orchards Poetry Journal, and Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry. She lives and writes in the Western Piedmont of North Carolina.

'THE HERMIT HEARS OWLS' has 1 comment

  1. April 9, 2021 @ 2:32 pm Cynthia Erlandson

    I just now saw this, Sally, and I really love it! The near-rhymes you’ve chosen sound very musical to me; and the atmosphere of the scene is evoked by words like almost, ghost, shadow, bodiless, distantly. And the “You, you” at the end, echoing the call of the owl, is perfect!


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