The Owl


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That owl is a bird of violence, that it kills to live I would not believe when I was a kid because of the bird’s association with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Of course it had to be a small, milk white owl to be the Vahana (vehicle or mount) of Lakshmi. Old women used to say each of their hoots and screeches spills death and ill luck. I didn’t believe that either. To me they belonged to myth and were shy, precious, divine and seen by the pious eyes only.

As a bird watcher no one’s journey is complete but I had seen a lone Lakshmi owl on one moonless Diwali night. Its white plumage, slightly dappled, glowed like silver fire. It took its perch on a lamppost. And I had to hang my head in shame for the poor thing was confused by the sound of crackers and almost blinded by the light pollution.

in an autumn night

I count the fall of feathers

of wisdom


Posted for Haibun Monday @ dVerse hosted by Victoria



19 thoughts on “The Owl

  1. There is a sadness there in the end – the confused owl from all the fireworks. And pollution.
    Imagine what we are doing to so many of natures gifts.

    Ah, but I could tangent – so I wont. The bringer of wisdom – that is the owl. I like what you did there in the haiku, expanding it. Perhaps we will get wisdom on the pollution. Oops, there I go again.

    I can see where people get the scary owl stories, with it being a predator but I like to think more along your lines. I have seen only a few.

  2. The festival of light..Diwali. I believe that’s correct? I understand the confusion of the owl wth all the light pollution and celebratory humans about. Well written!

  3. I like the story in this, the mythos of Lakshmi and the white owl. So sad that the owl was confused by the noise and pollution. things that are natural often are confused by the unnatural. A beautiful haiku.

  4. I think the ties between prosperity and predator might be true… a divine being maybe has to be both wise and predator… the wish to see an owl is something I feel inside… and it has only happened to me once. i feel sorry for the owl so confused by artificial light. I hope it found some darkness.

  5. So far we’ve had native American myths, Hindu myths, and I contributed a touch of the Welsh owl myth. They are powerful at attracting stories, and so very beautiful. i love this story, even if I feel sorry for the poor owl.

  6. What a beautiful, special gift you were given on that Diwali. I love the spiritual connections with so many animals. In Irish tradition, I grew up understanding that the howls of animals were known as Banshees and also foretold death. And that happened when my Irish grandmother died–but we did live in a rural area. I hadn’t thought of that in years.

  7. I didn’t know that an owl is associated with Lakshmi, Sumana, or that their hoots and screeches are said to spill death and ill luck. I don’t believe that either. But I can believe that Diwali might be complete from spotting a Lakshmi owl. What a shame it was confused by the sound of crackers.

  8. Oh, poor owl, bewildered by the cacophony of the city. How wonderful to have seen her. Shortly after my mother’s death, I was driving towards her home and an owl passed across my windshield in front of my car. Time felt suspended, and her flight slow motion, she turned her head and we exchanged a long glance. I thought it was my mother………………

  9. This is AWESOME!!!

    “Its white plumage, slightly dappled, glowed like silver fire.” … One of my favorite parts. But I really love it all SO much. But especially the last sentence and the haiku.

  10. Nice sharing of the owl’s myth Sumana ~ I have not seen an owl but love your description of: Its white plumage, slightly dappled, glowed like silver fire. ~ Indeed they are wise animals ~

  11. I think God’s creatures reveal his qualities…beauty, wisdom, and power. Hunting/killing are fall-out of sin, not how things were created. Your post offers food for thought and the haiku is lovely, Sumana!

Thank You :)

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