A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
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).