Chinese Paper Knife

For the first time ever, and only now
(Long waiting where I should see)
The tiny carved bird, the bony bough
Start sharp into life for me.

Why not until now, why suddenly now
This recognition? Replies
The bird must know who from that bough
Holds me with staring eyes:

The owl once more, but this time found
In foliage strange to me.
Fantastic branches warp around
From the scaly uptwisting tree.

A trifle, ah yes: but the carver achieved
A forest dream where flies
In and out the boughs so various-leaved
This bird with the pinhead eyes.

Then praised be this today whose light
Revealed this fabulous tree
And original owl, which many a night
Will lead into mystery.

by Edmund Blunden

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