22 December 2009

Poetic Expressions for the Eagle and Whip-poor-will

The White-headed Eagle

Expressly for The Oologist.
Behold in yon skies, with piercing eyes,
The noble king of birds;
Who swift on the wing, his glance doth fling
O'er space untold by words.
Now he pauses on high, quick to descry
Beneath him his victim;
When with a wild dash; as quick as a flash,
Down through the air doth he skim,
As with a fierce shriek, he opens his beak,
His victim to devour
Again in the air, - this bird's broadest lair,
From view he circles above,
His piercing sight keen, from his height supreme
Making objects doubly acute.
Not a cloud in the sky; In the air not a sigh,
On this cool, pleasant, calm day.
The water is clear; not a sound do you hear
But the scream of the Eagle far away.
His head and his tail their white do unveil,
As he proudly sweeps along.
With pinions wide spread and uplifted head,
Ignoring all birds of their song.
June 1875. Oologist 1(4).

The Whip-poor-will.

On a low bough, above the window sill,
Sang yester eve a lonely whip-poor-will;
An allegretto strain until the close,
Repeated o'er and o'er without repose.
And did he weary of the woods, and long
To pipe in haunts of men a little song
And wed it to the moonlight pale and still?
Whip-poor-will! whip-poor-will! whip-poor-will!
Ah! who was Will that he should come to woe?
Perchance, a Quaker bird - t'was long ago -
The changing year their promises fulfill
To every May is sent the whip-poor-will.
In tender shades of green the earth is drest,
The sun sifts gold around the simplest nest;
And all the bird are joyous; why must he
Mid cherry blossoms pipe a threnody?
Ah! who can tell - not all in night time sing,
Not all are larks with sunward soaring wing;
In nature's concert each his part must fill,
And the great master taught the Whip-poor-will.
October 1883. Ornithologist and Oologist 8(10): 80. Reprinted from the Boston Journal, June, ' 83.

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