Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Bobolinks / Christopher Pearse Cranch

The Bobolinks

When Nature had made all her birds,
     With no more cares to think on,
She gave a rippling laugh, and out
     There flew a Bobolinkon.

She laughed again; out flew a mate:
     A breeze of Eden bore them
Across the fields of Paradise,
     The sunrise reddening o'er them.

Incarnate sport and holiday,
     They flew and sang forever;
Their souls through June were all in tune,
     Their wings were weary never.

Their tribe, still drunk with air and light,
     And perfume of the meadow,
Go reeling up and down the sky,
     In sunshine and in shadow.

One springs from out the dew-wet grass;
     Another follows after;
The morn is thrilling with their songs
     And peals of fairy laughter.

From out the marshes and the brook,
     They set the tall reeds swinging,
And meet, and frolic in the air,
     Half prattling and half singing.

When morning winds sweep meadow-lands
     In green and russet billows,
And toss the lonely elm-tree s boughs,
     And silver all the willows,

I see you buffeting the breeze,
     Or with its motion swaying,
Your notes half drowned against the wind,
     Or down the current playing.

When far away o'er grassy flats,
     Where the thick wood commences,
The white-sleeved mowers look like specks
     Beyond the zigzag fences,

And noon is hot, and barn-roofs gleam
     White in the pale blue distance,
I hear the saucy minstrels still
     In chattering persistence.

When Eve her domes of opal fire
     Piles round the blue horizon,
Or thunder rolls from hill to hill
     A Kyrie Eleison,

Still merriest of the merry birds,
     Your sparkle is unfading;–
Pied harlequins of June,– no end
     Of song and masquerading.

What cadences of bubbling mirth,
     Too quick for bar and rhythm!
What ecstasies, too full to keep
     Coherent measure with them !

O could I share, without champagne
     Or muscatel, your frolic,
The glad delirium of your joy,
     Your fun un-apostolic,

Your drunken jargon through the fields,
     Your bobolinkish gabble,
Your fine Anacreontic glee,
     Your tipsy reveller's babble!

Nay, let me not profane such joy
     With similes of folly;
No wine of earth could waken songs
     So delicately jolly!

O boundless self-contentment, voiced
     In flying air-born bubbles!
O joy that mocks our sad unrest,
     And drowns our earth-born troubles!

Hope springs with you: I dread no more
     Despondency and dullness;
For Good Supreme can never fail,
     That gives such perfect fullness.

The life that floods the happy fields
     With song and light and color
Will shape our lives to richer states,
     And heap our measures fuller.

Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892), 1866
from The Bird and the Bell, with other poems, 1875

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Christopher Pearse Cranch biography

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