Scratching the Owl’s Head

by: Carol McClain

In the distance is Owls Head and Indian Lake.


My friend Linda Sprague found a few old poems of mine published in Foothills Ink and sent them to me. I’m going to take a break from my usual musings and share some never before shared work.

I dedicate this post to Linda Sauther, Ellen Mainville, Flossy Powell, and Zoe Steenberge. Together we climbed Owls Head Mountain in the hamlet of Owls Head, New York. These women helped me become the author I am.

Those of you who subscribe will be the first to see this unpublished work.

Scratching the Owl’s Head

Gold and crimson death spreads at my feet

a magician’s scarf transforms the slope

past Indian Lake,

the pendant on the owl’s pendulous breast.


Below a pond fills with lilies,

reeds and sphagnum

becomes a bog for moose once gone

I float on solid ground

up here

marshy vapors fade and breezes lift

on the aeronautics of silenced birds


in the company of (wo)men

we traipse the mountain’s spine and

skitter chips

reseed the tumbling mountain.

Green flashes in crevices of

Paynes gray rock and burnt sienna

logs soon no longer dead.

We climb the fungi shelves and

scatter moss grown scarce.

While gray green lichen

beaded in red

split the rock and make the

mountain fall.


I wanted to leave life behind

but children followed

chattered and chased

my solitude away.

Too much chatter

and splatter of man

three bars on my cell while in the

village below

no one talks to me.


Life won’t leave even as I shift

an eye for an eye

and then a beak.


I hope the owl doesn’t sneeze.



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