Brief Encounter. Old Steading, Altass

Curious, I peered through the non-door

and saw old cow stalls, mangers between

roof supports, timbers for burning.

The new owner’s firewood, split logs,

chopping block, axe, bow saw.

No windows relieved the inside gloom

so I stepped closer, my body shape

framed by the doorway

Then one more step.


A white flash in the half-light

moving, fast; straight at me. Silent.

No time to duck, aiming at the space

between my head

and the door jamb. The occupant,

an escaping barn owl, soundless

till the wing tip brushed my ear

and cheek; a feathered razor

from my eye to neck.

I staggered back into bright day,

turning to watch my equally startled

door-sharer soar

into the trees, a pure white cut-out

against dark green, now etched

into memory.

By Dave Goulder

Last Updated on 10 September, 2021 by Kyle Chronicle

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