Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY FOUR – Tony Williams

It really happened but it sounds made up

This day, one day
into the reign of God knows what
unhinged basileus
who might burn us all,
I found a headless owl
in the woods, the moon of eyes
eclipsed to a bloody stump.
I found a voice: How blind
and wiseless is
the winter state, and who
shall watch, and speak,
Minerva gone?

It made a pretty poem, but the howl
truncated in the night
meant nothing.
Did it even sound?
A made-up, headless owl means
what we like. There’s only this:
the headless owl was real.
I found it there,
the speckled feathers cold
on the rucked-up breast. It bore
no meaning, but was there,
and made me think that world
has more to show and less to care
than men can speak of in their auguring.


Tony Williams’s most recent collection is The Midlands (Nine Arches Press, 2014). His graphic sonnet sequence All the Rooms of Uncles Head (Nine Arches Press, 2012) was a PBS pamphlet choice. He lives in Northumberland, where he is senior lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University.



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