I Do Not Collect Owls

by Dorothy Pope

Asking for trouble, I suppose,
to put the first one, oddly given
by a dinner guest,
on a complex set of shelves
like noughts and crosses
but with thirty-six partitions,
this a gift from someone else.

Subsequently, friends
have been filling up these squares
with owls: candidates of wood
and china, leather, felt and glass,
of alabaster, even silver.

There are twenty-seven owls now
in this assembled parliament
although, as I keep trying to say,
I do not, never have collected owls.