06 November 2013

The Snow-bird - An 1841 Poem

From distant climes, which none can tell,
In dress of bright and changeful hue,
I greet the bird beloved so well,
When childhood's hours around me flew.
Sure, though the northern storms may spend
Their fury over field and tree,
Their blasts are welcome, if they send
So gay a visitant as thee.
I care not that the laughing Spring
Its blue-bird messenger may own;
If winter be but sure to bring
The Snow-bird I have always known.
How oft, in childhood's rainbow hours,
I've watch'd thee at the window pane,
Hiding thee from the ruthless showers,
Till vernal airs shall breathe again!
Oh! how my youthful eyes would strain,
Pursuing in my wayward track!
How oft I've spread the attractive grain
To bring thy wandering pinions back!
Yes, gentle bird! I mind the time
Thou'st sported round my window-seat,
(Thoughtless of evil, as of crime,)
Pleased, it would seem, my face to greet, —
And feeding with confiding stay,
On tiny crumbs I threw to thee. —
"Twere base, twere cruel, to betray
A bird that ne'er had injured me.
There breathes an everlasting Power,
Unknown, but felt — unseen, but heard;
He clothes each tree, he tints each flower;
His arm protects my darling bird.
Let winter come with stormy voice;
Let snow-wreaths crown the highest hill;
He bids thee in the storm rejoice,
He sees, protects, and feeds thee still.
January 15, 1841. Stroudsburg Jeffersonian Republican 1(49): 1. Poetry feature on the front-page.