Happy [Belated] Valentine’s Day

The Screech Owl’s Valentine

A Screech Owl once set out to find
A comely mate of his own kind;
Through wooded haunts and shadows dense
He pressed his search with diligence;
As a reward,
He soon espied
A feathered figure,

“Good-night ! my lady owl,” said he,
“Will you accept my company ?”
He bowed and snapped, and hopped about,
He wildly screamed, then looked devout.
But no word came,
His heart to cheer,
From lady owl,
That perched so near.

The suitor thought her hearing dull,
And for her felt quite sorrowful,
Again by frantic efforts he
Did try to woo her from her tree;
“Pray, loveliest owl,
The forest’s pride,
Descend and be
My beauteous bride.

“A wedding feast of mice we’ll keep,
When cats and gunners are asleep;
We’ll sail like shadows cast at noon,
Each night will be a honeymoon.”

To this she answered
not one breath ;
but sat unmoved
and still as death.

Said he, “I guess that she’s the kind
That people in museums find ;
Some taxidermist by his skill
Has stuffed the bird, she sits so still.
Ah me! that eyes
Once made to see
Should naught
But ghostly spectres be.”

At this she dropped her haughty head
And cried, “I’m neither stuffed nor dead.
Oh ! Weird and melancholy owl,
The rival of the wolf’s dread howl,
Since fate so planned,
I’ll not decline
To be for life
Your valentine.”

– Florence A. Van Sant, in Bird-Lore


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