The Owl







Men said, but here I know they lied,
The owl was of a sullen clan
Whose voice upon the lone hillside
Forboded ill to mouse and man—
A terror noiseless in the flight,
A hooknosed hoodlum of the night.

But I have found another breed,
An owl of fine artistic feelings,
A connoisseur of wine & weed
Who flutters under frescoed ceilings
Nor scorns to bid the passing guest
Abide a season in his nest.

I saw him on the staircase sit
And blandly wink at jibe & joke,
An arbiter twixt wit & wit,
A god enshrined in baccy smoke
While round his pedestal there beat
The clamour of his servants' feet.

Some toiled in journalistic fetters
And some in stocks—and stand up collars—
Some worked his will in Art & letters
And some their own with things called dollars.
Whate'er they ran or wrote or drew
The owl was monarch of the crew.

With humour bright as Frisco air
In speech as dry as Frisco sand,
He blithely bade me welcome there
And stretched a claw to take my hand
Whereat I found acceptance free
Among his jovial company.

A wanderer from East to West
A vagrant under many skies,
How shall a roving rhymester best
Requite O owl thy courtesies?
Accept in lieu of laboured stippling
A simple 'Thank you'
signed R. Kipling.