A wise old owl
A wise old owl
“A wise old owl lived in an oak, The more he has the less he spoke, The less he spoke, the more he heard, Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?” Edward Hersey Richards
This poem is a simple, yet powerful reminder of the importance of listening more and speaking less. The wise old owl in the oak tree serves as a metaphor for individuals who possess the wisdom to remain silent and observe the world around them. The more the owl has, or knows, the less he speaks. The less he speaks, the more he is able to hear and absorb information from his surroundings.
The final question, “Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?” serves as a call to action for readers to reflect on their own listening habits and consider adopting the wise old bird’s approach of speaking less and listening more.
In essence, the poem encourages readers to practice humility, patience, and mindfulness in their interactions with others, which can ultimately lead to greater understanding and wisdom.
[ The four-line poem “A Wise Old Owl” is cited in print from at least 1883, but is of unknown authorship. A 1904 source (below) credits “the immortal poet Bromley.”
The wise old owl (who either sits or lives in or on an oak) observes much, but doesn’t blab about it. The poem and its moral were used in World Wars I and II. The owl poem was a favorite of industrialist John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933; president from 1923-1929). ]