The Saturday poem: From ‘In the Ear of the Owl’

A new poem by Hayden Murphy


There was a small mock-ivory owl among

The bric-a-brac on the mantelpiece in my grandmother’s

Bedroom. So I thought.

But guided beyond learning to reading

I came to understand it had a base.

And upon its base a basic designation:

Dr. Douglas Hyde

First President of Ireland


Years later, a span of three centuries, I realised

Owl was a protestant and my grandmother did not care.

She included him in “the trimmings” of her rosary.

My perceived owl was in her prayers.

As she in mine. Birds of prey

Need protection by words.

Hayden Murphy is a poet and arts journalist, born in Dublin and now living in Edinburgh. He was editor of Broadsheet ( 1967-78 ). His poem is from his recent collection, In the Ear of the Owl (Roncadora Press, Scotland)


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