The sky’s curtain opens,
hills creep out of their shadows
and the moon rests on the lake’s skin.
Night is the sun’s thief,
taking its flames to an outer darkness,
but leaving a reflection of light
on the moon’s surface.

Small creatures emerge unafraid.
Theirs is a monochrome world,
where colours merge to an undefined grey.
They vanish, appear and disappear
in a confusion of fragmented shapes.

And in that confusion, an owl flies invisible,
silent, claws open, its hungry eyes
seeing through night’s dark glass.
As blood falls into the moon’s eye,
it trembles a moment of pain,
offering a brief warning on its broken skin.

Night betrays its assurance to protect,
concealing its wings behind a dark sky,
seducing the shadows from their hiding.
The spilling of blood goes unnoticed,
but the curtains have blown
and a cry reclaims the quiet of before.

And the world spins unsupported,
the sun escapes night’s darkened room.
Though the moon whispers its secret
in a deserted barn, an owl sleeps awake,
and a tragedy of broken bones
affirms the balance of life and death.

Rowland Hughes ©