Owls

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The Owls

The owls that roost in the black yew
Along one limb in solemn state,
And with a red eye look you through,
Are eastern gods; they meditate.

No feather stirs on them, not one,
Until that melancholy hour
When night, supplanting the weak sun,
Resumes her interrupted power.

Their attitude instructs the wise
To shun all action, all surprise.
Suppose there passed a lovely face, —

Who even longs to follow it,
Must feel for ever the disgrace
Of having all but moved a bit.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

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