A Thrush Before Dawn
A voice peals in this end of night
   A phrase of notes resembling stars,
Single and spiritual notes of light.
   What call they at my window-bars?
      The South, the past, the day to be,
      An ancient infelicity.
Darkling, deliberate, what sings
   This wonderful one, alone, at peace?
What wilder things than song, what things
   Sweeter than youth, clearer than Greece,
      Dearer than Italy, untold
      Delight, and freshness centuries old?
And first first-loves, a multitude,
   The exaltation of their pain;
Ancestral childhood long renewed;
   And midnights of invisible rain;
      And gardens, gardens, night and day,
      Gardens and childhood all the way.
What Middle Ages passionate,
   O passionless voice! What distant bells
Lodged in the hills, what palace state
   Illyrian! For it speaks, it tells,
      Without desire, without dismay,
      Some morrow and some yesterday.
All-natural things! But more—Whence came
   This yet remoter mystery?
How do these starry notes proclaim
   A graver still divinity?
      This hope, this sanctity of fear?
      O innocent throat! O human ear!

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (lane@elcore.net)
Created April 10, 2001; not revised.