My friend the owl

As I sit in my flat of an evening I sometimes hear the cry of an owl, perhaps in my garden or maybe in the nearby park. It is a mournful and an erie sound but, at the same time his voice is company for those, like me who hear his song.

Folklore is rich with references to owls. In some cultures the bird is seen as a harbinger of death. If an owl flies overhead, during the daytime then someone close to you will die. In Macbeth the owl portends the murder of Duncan by Macbeth “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman, which gives the stern’st good-night”.

It is easy to comprehend why owls have (and still are) perceived as harbingers of death. They glide silently through the night sky swooping down to devour rodents and other prey. Death, as in the murder of King Duncan by Macbeth comes swiftly and unexpectedly.

On a lighter note we have that wonderful nonsense poem, by Edward Lear “The Owl and the Pussycat” which relates how those two unlikely companions sail away, for a year and a day to the land where the bong tree grows and are married by the turkey who lives on the hill. As a child I derived tremendous pleasure from the poem and, as an adult Lear still brings a smile to my face.

On the whole I regard the owl as a friend, he (or she) joins with the foxes to create the music of the night (apologies to Bram Stoker)!


About kevinmorris101

I live and work in London and blog as a hobby. If you would like to contact me please send an email to animalia at (the address is rendered in this manner in order to try and defeat spammers)!
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2 Responses to My friend the owl

  1. Peter says:

    hi kevin i like the mid-passage change of tone – from the profound and melancholic to the ridiculous. i think I’ll have to read that poem.

    • Hi Peter. It is great to hear from you and thanks for the comment. I’ve pasted Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat below. Enjoy! “I The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, ‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

      II Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl! How charmingly sweet you sing! O let us be married! too long we have tarried: But what shall we do for a ring?’ They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-tree grows And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.

      III ‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’ So they took it away, and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill. They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.”

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