Freya Manfred grew up in western Minnesota, near Pipestone, where she gained the love of the natural world. Daughter of artist Frederick Manfred, her memoir of him was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. She now lives with her husband, screenwriter Thomas Pope, and her twin sons, on Bass Lake near Hudson, Wisconsin.
Her published poetry books are: A Goldenrod Will Grow (Groveland Press), Yellow Squash Woman (Thorp Springs Press), American Roads (Overlook/Viking), Flesh and Blood (Red Dragonfly Press), My Only Home (Red Dragonfly Press), and Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle (Red Dragonfly Press). Nature and the outdoor world, as well as the relationships between human beings — family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers — are the primary subjects of her work.
The Owl Cries at Night
The owl cries at night,
and I imagine her wide gold eyes
and feathered ears tuned
to the trembling woods and waters,
seeing and hearing what
I will never see or hear:
a red fox with one bloody paw,
a hunch-backed rabbit running,
sand grains grating on the shore,
a brown leaf crackling
under a brown mouse foot.
With so much to learn,
I could stop writing forever,
and still live well.
– Freya Manfred’s “The Owl Cries at Night,” as it appears in her collection Swimming with a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, published by Red Dragonfly Press. Reprinted here with permission from the author.