Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Flight / Theodore Goodridge Roberts

Spring Flight

Is it the voice of the open waters
     Calling the grey geese home from the South?
Do they hear the freshet under the willows
     And the grinding logs at the river’s mouth?

How do they know the lakes are open?
     Do they scent the maple buds bursting red?
Who has whispered them word of April?
     Who has told them that Winter’s dead?

Strong wings athrill,
Brave hearts astir,
They come, and the stars
Are high and chill,
And the frosty air
Is alive, aware
Of the whisp’ring wings.

Sure, unafraid,
Swift, undismayed,
Where the Northern Light flings
His cloak, they fly
And honk and pass
Under the sky.

My heart flies too
Fearlessly forth
With that feathery crew
To the North.

Up and away —
As their wings aspire —
I sail to the land of my heart’s desire.

With scent of alders and swollen waters
     And the flooded bar at the river’s mouth
Spring, awake in our Nashwaak valley,
     Calls her exiles home from the South.

Theodore Goodridge Roberts, 1901
from The Leather Bottle, 1934 

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Theodore Goodridge Roberts (by George Dance)

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