Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Owls and Poetry

Oh, if you still come to my poor blog, thank you.  
I think there have been a shortage of really good or funny stories lately, and with it being February now, not much going on in the bird department.
The good thing about winter is the start of nesting season for Great Horned Owls.  I have been checking my local nest every day, but thus far, no eggs.  This got me thinking of a poem by Charles Baudelaire.  Les Hiboux.  

A somewhat haunting poem, yet straining to find light.
Here it is in French (which is the best way to read it of course) and below, with a selection of delicious owl photos, one of many English translations.  
Enjoy.  And go out and look for owls!

Les Hiboux
Charles Baudelaire

Sous les ifs noirs qui les abritent
Les hiboux se tiennent rangés
Ainsi que des dieux étrangers
Dardant leur oeil rouge. Ils méditent.
Sans remuer ils se tiendront
Jusqu'à l'heure mélancolique
Où, poussant le soleil oblique,
Les ténèbres s'établiront.
Leur attitude au sage enseigne
Qu'il faut en ce monde qu'il craigne
Le tumulte et le mouvement;
L'homme ivre d'une ombre qui passe
Porte toujours le châtiment
D'avoir voulu changer de place.

The Owls
by Charles Baudelaire

Under the overhanging yews, 
The dark owls sit in solemn state, 
Like stranger gods; by twos and twos 
Their red eyes gleam. They meditate. 

photo by Jim Anderson

Motionless thus they sit and dream 
Until that melancholy hour 
When, with the sun's last fading gleam, 
The nightly shades assume their power. 

photo by Doug Sanchez

From their still attitude the wise 
Will learn with terror to despise 
All tumult, movement, and unrest; 

For he who follows every shade, 
Carries the memory in his breast,
Of each unhappy journey made.

photo by Doug Sanchez



Mary said...

Love love love it. Intriguing owls. (I'm sort of still around the blogosphere, only occasionally.)

Unknown said...

Funny, you should post about owls today. I was working on my owl id powerpoint and creating a brochure for the class. Serendipity! My word is grilizer. It that grizzlier?

Kyle said...

I've never heard that one before, Susan. Love it! (Especially with the accompanying photos.)

Beth said...

Great poem, Susan. Of course I am still stalking your blog - waiting breathlessly for new posts. Love ya.

Pat said...

Love this poem and photos!

Dave @ Around Alaska said...

How'd you know I love owls? :)

Kelly said...

...loved this post, Susan. Nothing is better than linking birds with poetry...

Kay Baughman said...

What a great blog! I had never read the poem before--it really captures owlness. Your photos are so good!
I listen to Great Horned Owls dueting every night--as well as the haunting sounds of screech-owls.

dguzman said...

Wow, that's a great poem! I never read much Baudelaire (I focused on American lit); very nice.

And I too am an all-too-infrequent visitor to bloggyland.

KaHolly said...

Wonderful post. I thoroughly enjoyed the poem and it was accompanied by beautiful photos. ~kaholly

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