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Owl antics


Rearing our own owl
WD Snodgrass Poet
Comments (1) Please sign in or register to add comments
Jon O
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 09:42 PM
WD reminds me of T.H. White - in looks and with his birding experience.

What I would do is I would take the… I… I had a freezer full of chopped up robins and groundhogs and all kinds of dead junk like that, and I would take pieces of that and… and tie it on a string and then pull it across the floor in front of them and make them come… make him come chase… or her — it was… it was a female — come chasing after… after it. Then once I… I knew that she'd got that under her belt, we would tie it up on string so that it was up in the air, and she would have to fly to… to get it.

So what happened to that owl?

That owl went away. I… I took her out. I… I mean, getting her out of that cabin was a really… a real job. I had to get around behind her and get a hold of the legs real fast because those claws are… well, her claws were as long as my… my little finger and the… and with a needle point and then a razor sharp edge down one side. You know, that's how they pierce things when they... And so I had to get her legs from behind like this and then get somebody to open the door and take her out and turn her loose. And at first she seemed quite… quite helpless. Then she went away for about five or six weeks, I would think. No, it couldn't have been that long. A couple weeks, anyway. And… and I must say, I… I felt a devastation that I had never quite felt with my children. I mean, I would go out and call. I'd give that call, and nothing would answer. I mean, nights have never seemed quite so empty. And… but then she came back, and… and I fed her for quite a while. And… and pretty soon then, a male came along, and one night when I called her, she didn't answer. Instead, a male answered. And I realized, ok. Then… then that was all right. Everything's ok.

And nine years later she came back to… and… yeah, Kathy came running into the room here one day and, and says, 'Owl, owl, owl, owl!' And we went out, and there's this enormous owl up in the tree. You know, it looked like… my… my usual description of this is, she… it looked like a St Bernard with awnings. I mean, you can't imagine how big she was up there. But you could tell it was the same owl because if you gave that call, that 'hoo hohoo hoo hoo', she'd answer with a baby screech. And she was absolutely obviously full grown. And… and, you know, I had… at the time I started raising this, I was with… I was with Camille, with a different wife. But now Kathy went out, and she… she stood out there and practically froze to death talking back and forth to that owl for… for hours. And… and that lasted for several days until we left to go to Mexico.

American poet WD Snodgrass, entered the world of poetry with a bang winning several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, for his first collection of poetry, Heart's Needle. A backlash followed his controversial fifth anthology “The Fuehrer Bunker”, but in recent years these poems have been reassessed and their importance recognised.

Listeners: William B. Patrick

William B. Patrick is a writer and poet who lives in Troy, New York. Among his work are the poetry volumes "We Didn't Come Here for This" and "These Upraised Hands", the novel "Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family" and the plays "Rescue" and "Rachel's Dinner". His most recent work is the non-fiction book "Saving Troy", based on the year he spent following the Troy Fire Department.

Mr. Patrick has been Writer-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute and has taught at Old Dominion University, Onondaga Community College, and Salem State College, and workshops in Screenwriting and Playwriting at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. He has received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Tags: Mexico

Duration: 3 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008