‘It grew light,’ Owl says, ‘and then the light grew lichens.’
He solemnly ask his pupils, ‘What is it?’
His pupils blank. He adds, ‘The It that grows
light, you know, and everything that follows.’
A stoat who is only auditing Owl’s class
pipes up and says, ‘Old Owl, your tale won’t fly
except in reason’s face. You must cloak your fill
of lichens with their absent chlorophyll
to make them grow by exposing them to light.’
The Owl sees some of his pupils are dilating
and the stoat’s accomplice looks fit to die laughing.
‘My tale is nobody’s business but my own
body’s,’ says the owl. It itself bodes ill
for those who question birds armed with sharp talons.
I ask once more. It is on the test. What is It?’