I’m still shooting the hoops in March Madness Poetry. The voting is happening now for the third round. Surprisingly I did not write science-y poems for the first two rounds, but animals played starring roles in them. I decided that it was time to go back to a nature/science poem for this round. My assigned word was vaunted, and when I brainstormed what might be vaunted, I thought about a barn owl’s sight and hearing. Did you know that a barn owl, whose ears are not placed symmetrically, can find its prey by listening on a dark night? So what does a mouse do to avoid this well-adapted predator? If an owl flies far overhead, it freezes, so that the owl can neither see or hear movement. If the owl is close enough to spot it, it tries to zigzag or make a beeline to a hole or brush. Of course many mice (and shrews, voles, rats, and bats) are caught by these predators.
In the middle of the night I thought that the mouse might write a letter to the vaunted owl, and tease her about not being as great of a predator as her reputation (insomnia is great for coming up with ideas–the only problem is if I can read my scribbles in the morning.) Then the owl could reply–my original idea was to have the owl swallow mousey while mouse read the letter, but I opted not to go the bloody route. I tried to give both characters formal voices to go with their letter writing habits. You can read the poem here. Be sure to also enjoy the fun kid-friendly poem that Darren Sardelli wrote about a principal’s litany of woes.
We have not had a dog for several years, but my daughter took care of our neighbors’ pets for about 6 weeks this winter. The dog came over for daily visits, and sweet old soul that he is, spent a lot of time snoozing and snoring. He inspired Three Dog Night, my round 2 poem:
Three Dog Night
By Buffy Silverman
A gusting windstorm slammed the door as snow swirled overhead.
The frosty breezes froze my toes and followed me to bed.
I lay there sandwiched by my pups: Bella, Bear, and Bree,
and snuggled in their furry warmth till sleep washed over me.
Someone bellowed! Someone cried! A squeak! A bleat! A moan….
Who was hooting, wailing, whooping? I blinked and heard a groan.
I found no owl, no fox or moose—no wild menagerie.
‘Twas just the roaring, snoring snorts of Bella, Bear, and Bree.
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