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Barn Owls in SuffolkSeán Hewitt

Séan Hewitt
+ posts

I watch them for a long while,

the pair rising and courting the field

in daylight, the strange geometry

of their faces funneling the air,


and everything – their whiteness,

their sense of having slipped

through from another world,

their focus on the hunt –


in the end it all comes down

to their silence –

the way each feather disperses

the air, how each wavers –


and I wonder what omen it is

to see two barn owls hunting

in mid-morning, so quietly

secretive, for surely


there is something in the slow

spread of the wing, the moment

of inverted flight, the living thing

pulled from the earth and lifted.



Seán Hewitt‘s debut collection of poetry, Tongues of Fire, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2020. It won The Laurel Prize in 2021, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, a Dalkey Literary Award. In 2020, he was chosen by The Sunday Times as one of their “30 under 30” artists in Ireland. His memoir, All Down Darkness Wide, was published in 2022. He is Poetry Critic for The Irish Times and teaches Modern British & Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin.