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About this Poem 

“‘Snowy Owl Goddess’ is one of a number of meditations where I've attempted to rectify the actions or assuage the bad feelings lacing my history, wherein I've never been able to accept women as friends or appreciate their beauties.  I have found that trying to fight my old angers and prejudices, I often am rewarded by seeing goddesses instead of enemies.”

—Diane Wakoski

Snowy Owl Goddess

Diane Wakoski, 1937

Loudell, in a loose cotton dress
            the color of delphiniums,
                        her hair, owl-feathered and quiet
as her naked toes in their pale sandals
             is a friend from this harvest part
                         of our lives,
a Minerva woman
             of herbs and salsas, hellebore, trumpet vines
                        and heirloom tomatoes. She glides
among us all,
             carefully,
                          as if we too might be
live plants.

            Almost in a trance from the heady
                        August evening, and perhaps from the corner
of my indolent eye, more absorbing the murmur
            than watching, I registered
                          this Snowy Owl of a woman
as she stripped an olive through her raptor’s mouth,
             then delicately flung the pit
                           into the narrow garden verge next
to her deck chair.

             Usually fastidious as a pharmacist
                         weighing crystals,
she surprised me in this seeming-act
           of littering, until I realized “oh, the pit might take root,
                         grow!” It was her planter’s instinct/
give every seed a place.

            Sipping her chardonnay and, with one hand cracking
                          some pistachios to neatly deposit
their shells in a bowl with pits from olives
             the rest of us had eaten,
                          she reminds me that even
with abundance
            there need not be waste.

                         Every day the image, planted in the hull of
twilight conversation, visits me: A Snowy Owl
                suddenly spreading her 10-foot wingspan
                              to cover this sacred earth,
its arcing motion, her arm unfolding into air
          with the olive pit
                     bowling earthward.
 

Copyright @ 2014 by Diane Wakoski. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on August 15, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Diane Wakoski. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on August 15, 2014.

Diane Wakoski

Diane Wakoski

Born on August 3, 1937, Diane Wakoski has published more than forty collections of poems