John Horder

The Measure Of Their Fear

Hanging under those long, long moments
When I’m quite sure I’m going to die,
Or pass out at any moment, or lie forever
In a tiny wrinkled box, alone,
While the rain silently rots away at the wood,

I wonder at the owls, romantic and melancholy,
Locked up their private myth, desperate as poets,
In their inability to communicate,
Taking up uneasy posts in the dark,
Wings tremulous, yet who would know it,
Knowing the measure of their fear, yet quite mastering it.

John Horder © 2008

First published in A Sense of Being 
(First Edition, Chatto & Windus/Hogarth Press, 1968)
Accepted by Howard Moss of The New Yorker
Published by Al Avarez, poetry editor of the Observer