Northumberland Street

Owl in Daylight



I stare unblinking from her shoulder.

Time has not ruffled my feathers,

weariness has not drooped my lids.

I see them swarming towards the bright glint of shop windows.

I see the prospect in their eyes.


When it began lava flowed.

The pungent smell of sulphur clawed at my nostrils.

Parakeet green grass sprang towards the sun

to be tramped down by armies migrating across the border,

leaving a dirt track in their wake.


Stone tamed into houses holds lives within.

The glow of log fires emits into the dark.

Then glass and steel strange and new,

no glow just glint, what warmth for me?


The city grows like crocuses pushing thirstily through soil.

Money flies from hand to hand,

never still for long;

silver sparrows flitting from tree to tree.


I am at the centre of their gaze.

They gather round cooing

what a lovely bird, what a pretty owl.

Wisdom wears well on us owls

but slips off of humans like oil on water.


One day they and I will be worn into the history of Northumberland Street.

But now there are Christmas lights to see,

warm pasties to eat and songs to hear,

so the samba band plays:

feet pound dancing around each other,

the thick smell of food wafts from shop fronts.

Each and every one is living the same history,

while I look on unblinking.



Claudia Simmons was born in Norwich but has lived in Newcastle for the past ten years. She has taken part in the ESU Public Speaking Competition and Poetry By Heart. She is also interested in art and fashion as well as poetry.