The Great Horned Owl


By David Madrid

The Great Horned Owl didn’t know

That a weapon could be made of snow.

The snowball hit him hard and square,

Broke his wing, knocked him out of the air.

The attacker was cruel and pelted the bird.

He was one of those guys you call a smelly turd.

Luckily a family drove by in their car.

They had just left church and weren’t going far.

The dad sent his two sons to stop the attacker,

Who ran like a coward, obviously an ignorant slacker.

The older brother used gloves to pick up the raptor,

Who fought bravely to escape certain capture.

The brother held tight and took the bird home.

One wing flapped wildly, the other was blown.

The owl was given shelter inside the storage shed.

He hated being cooped up, but at least he wasn’t dead.

The predator looked about with the eyes of a killer.

The family dog was fearless, but those yellow eyes set him aquiver.

The owl sized up the hound; was he small enough to eat?

The black dog was too big, too tough and too fleet.

The sister named the broken-winged owl Tedford.

The family marveled at the fierceness of the bird,

Whose eyes looked through you with the depth of a hunter,

Whose sharp beak could cleave your skin asunder,

Whose talons were knives ready to puncture,

Who swooped from the night sky to feed his hunger.

Both the sons and the daughter too,

Loved the owl as only a family would do.

They gave him scraps and leftovers to eat,

Still, Tedford craved bloody fresh meat.

He perched on a high shelf and considered the hound,

Who snuck around with nary a sound.

The family knew what the great horned owl intended,

And they were relieved when his wing finally mended.

Only the youngest son could not, would not, let go.

The owl was his, and that was all anyone needed to know.

So one night the young boy played in a school basketball game.

The oldest son offered to take the blame.

He opened the door to the owl’s lonely shed.

With one mighty hop, the great bird launched and fled.

The young boy was sad, his grief immense.

It took years for the loss to finally make sense.

The great horned owl could only survive,

As a hunter who flew and killed in the night.


So fly, fly away my long-winged ferocious brother;

The sky is your father, the earth is your mother.

Eat the rodents that scurry across your path;

Kill the slithering serpent that suffers your wrath.

But I pray you remember our family that dared,

To stop that frozen day because we cared.

The End

© 2009

Contact: David Madrid

This is a true story. Read “The Age of the Night Stalker”, a blog about this poem.