©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
In the deep beech woods among the gray and silver boles
With golden leaves still rattling on recumbent limbs,
Especially when the snow is falling fast,
There you can call the great horned owls.
Just give well the three-part mating call and
They'll mind you better than they do the gods,
Disdaining to listen to the distant village bells,
And all like claims to heaven's will and nature's air,
As blithly as they once ignored
The shaman and his rattling turtle shells
Then they'll come drifting through the forest aisles
From all the dim and misty atavistic reaches,
Crossing fence lines that vanish as they overfly
And farmsteads that melt into the hills, as
Their muffled wings become again the old wild torrents
Falling through the glacial sky where
Boulder eggs once carried in the mother soil
What do the hissing snowflakes tell?
The flute song that I hear is not quite real
But a product of the culture's rustic play.
What hidden message is there then for me .
Only that in all these woods and time
No mystery deeper than the wings themselves can be
Here again, in Wisconsin, in an essentially agricultural area built on limestone soils, the Great Horned Owl was the only large owl. A nuance here is the reference to dead beech leaves on "recumbent limbs", both characteristics of the American Beech in winter. It was common for my boyhood friend Wally P and I to be in the woods during winter snowfalls, there to smoke sumac leaves, boil tea in birch bark kettles and call the owls, which sometimes perched immediately over our heads.