Owl You Need is Love

Environment, Stories & Poetry

In a strange twist of fate, I’ve found myself drawing a multitude of owls recently and I thought I’d share one. Owls seem to be rather popular at the moment, and I was recently fortunate enough to get my hands on a ticket to the Wild Life Drawing class in Haggerston, with live owls to draw!

Although owls are renowned as wise, beautiful, feisty creatures, I like to remember Edward Thomas’ poem when I find myself sentimentalising them. They are wild creatures in a fight for survival, a concept which we often forget in the western world.

I can’t go five minutes without a hot cup of tea, and I’m never truly hungry for anything other than cake. Although Thomas is referring to the suffering of ‘soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice’, I tend to reflect on the lives of wild animals as they fight subzero temperatures, food shortages and predators. It’s amazing to think of the different lives we lead, and how poorly most humans would fare if thrown out in the cold!

The Owl by Edward Thomas

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved;
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

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2 thoughts on “Owl You Need is Love

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