Title: Museum Pieces

Author: Chris Price

In: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012

Song of la chouette

page 357                

18 July: Musée Picasso, Antibes

Song of la chouette

The bird in the hand is an owl.
The owl has the artist’s eyes.
With them across alps and
over cliffs of sleeping women

it flies, looking for fissures and
platters, chair-backs and shoulders
spotting and looking and taking
in what cowers among the boulders.

At night the small round bird
balloons to voodoo mask,
a stringless kite, no jess or trace
to draw it back—yet faithful

it returns to the hangar and the man
who recalibrates the sights; grateful
and silent, he builds le grand hibou
in black and white. One night the owl

drops the eyes in ancient Greece.
They calmly lie and see for weeks
until the bird, on another hunt,
plucks them up in its feet.

The bird holds the eyes in its claws.
The man hoods the bird in his palm.
The blind mice run at night. The owl means
no harm. The artist it darkly serves

paints under cloudless skies.
I am the owl. You are the prize.