Unexpected at Paper Poetry

How My Odd Orange-Eyed Owl Surprised Me 🦉

The supersonnet sequel to my Rajah scops owl story

Carolyn Hastings
Paper Poetry
Published in
4 min readMay 28, 2024


An orange poster featuring a hand-drawn illustration of a Rajah scops owl with bright orange eyes. A large version of the illustration is in an oval frame in the centre of the poster and includes handwritten words ‘an oddish looking owl with orange eyes otus brookii brookii Rajah scops owl Borneo Malaysia’. On either side are identical square panels with the same Rajah scops owl illustration and the words, Lo Svinato Dùg printed above it.
Poster assembled by author using PowerPoint, featuring the author’s pencil illustration of Rajah Hoot, an Rajah scops owl (centre), and Lo Svinato’s printed version (left & right)

An owl with orange eyes! Oh, what a hoot!’
was my first thought when seeing the photo
‘This will be perfect for my next sonnet
about a thing that starts with letter ‘o’

A Rajah scops owl? I had not one clue
it was so rare, believed to be extinct
but there it was on Mount Kinabalu
its orange eyes making it so distinct.

It was a brilliant rediscovery
deserving global media coverage.
I did my bit by writing poetry
and drawing Rajah Hoot’s eyes bright orange.

Those eyes,’ she told me, ‘caught my attention
while googling images of Rajah scops.
We’d love to use your pic for promotion
and label our new wine. It will be tops!

That’s not exactly how she worded it
in her surprise gmail received last year
but she was definitely passionate
about my owl. I gave her the all clear



Carolyn Hastings
Paper Poetry

Well-practiced speech pathologist now practicing to be a children’s book writer — emphasis on practicing.