"Song — The Owl" by Tennyson


When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.



When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his roundelay,
Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

The Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1892) | Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

Online Poetry Anthology


  • Copy the poem into a copybook.
  • Use Drawing and Writing paper to add one or two lines from the poem along with a corresponding illustration.
  • View an illustration of a belfry. Why might an owl enjoy spending time there? What might it see?Belfry
  • Learn more about owls.


Additional Resources

14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student: Poetry
Ideas for doing more with the poem.

Favorite Poems of Childhood edited by Philip SmithFavorite Poems of Childhood
Dover Children’s Thrift Classic we enjoyed that includes two other Tennyson poems. Perfect for reading aloud!

Poems Every Child Should Know edited by Mary E. Burt
Included in this public domain book were poems selected for their value. “Children should build for their future—and get, while they are children, what only the fresh imagination of the child can assimilate.”


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