Charlie Bell’s poem was inspired by the Simon Patterson exhibition. He is a freelance writing tutor and poet living and working around Tunbridge Wells. As well as teaching for Adult Education and the University of Kent, he works in community settings with disadvantaged groups. He is currently collecting together several pamphlets of poetry.

I am Grey Owl – I pretend to be no-one else.
I am what I have become – doubt me not.
I have a wife who takes me as I am – her Grey Owl, she knows nothing else.
See my deerskin tunic and believe. Marvel at my war bonnet and accept.
I am the Owl.
I have taken the owl’s wisdom and his perch.
I see with far sight.
If I say that I glide at night in the silent glade, unheard, unseen, you’d better believe me.
If I sat I have seen terrible things done to mother earth, you’d better believe me.
If I tell you I was once a hunter of beavers, believe me. Took them for their pelts.
Then I married. That way wisdom comes.
You call me imposter but I made no pretence.
I call you imposter and challenge you to prove otherwise.
I am Grey Owl. Who the hell are you?

You can see the works of Simon Patterson in Safari: An Exhibition as Expedition in the Ground Floor Gallery. Open until Sunday 3 September.

Posted by Tara Neville on Wednesday 26 July 2017