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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

What Sees the Owl?

By Elizabeth Sears Bates Gerberding

[Born in North San Juan, Cal.]

HIS velvet wing sweeps through the night;

With magic of his wondrous sight

He oversees his vast domain,

And king supreme of night doth reign.

Around him lies a silent world,

The day with all its noise is furled;

When every shadow seems a moon,

And every light a sun at noon.

How welcome from the blinding glare

Is the cool grayness of the air!

How sweet the power to reign, a king,

When day his banishment will bring!

For him the colorless moonlight

Burns brilliant, an aurora bright;

The forest’s deepest gloom stands clear

From mystery and helpless fear.

He sees the silver cobwebs spun,

The dewdrops set the flowers have won,

The firefly’s gleam offends his sight,

It seems a spark of fierce sunlight.

Clear winter nights when he so bold,

“For all his feathers, is a-cold,”

Sees the Frost-spirit fling his lace,

And fashion icicles apace.

At his weird call afar and faint

A sleepy echo, like the quaint

Last notes of some wild chant, replies

And mocks his solitude—and dies.

The Overland Monthly. 1889.