06 November 2013

The Birds - An 1869 Poem

One day, in the bluest of Summer weather,
Stretching under a whispering oak,
I heard five bobolinks laughing together,
Over some ornithological joke.
What the fun was, I couldn't discover —
Language of birds is a riddle on earth —
What could they find in white weed and clover
To split their sides with such musical mirth?
Was it some prank of the prodigal Summer —
Face in the cloud or verse in the breeze —
Querulous cat-bird — woodpecker drummer —
Cawing of crows far over the trees?
Was it some chipmunk's chatter - or weasel
Under the stone wall, stealthy and sly?
Or was the joke about me at my easel,
Trying to catch the tints of the sky?
Still they flew tipsily, shaking all over,
Bubbling with jollity, brimful of glee —
While I sat listening deep in the clover,
Wondering what their jargon could be.
'Twas but the voice of a morning the brightest
That ever dawned over yon shadowy hills;
'Twas but the song of all joy that is lightest —
Sunshine breaking in laughter and trills.
Vain to conjecters the words they are singing;
Only by tones can we follow the tune!
In the full heart of the Summer fields ringing,
Ringing the rhythmical gladness of June!
July 1, 1869. White Cloud Kansas Chief 13(1): 1.