The Voice of a Bird

“He shall rise up at the voice of a bird.”—Ecclesiastes
       Who then is “he”?
Dante, Keats, Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley; all
Rose in their greatness at the shrill decree,
The little rousing inarticulate call.
       For they stood up
At the bird-voice, of lark, of nightingale,
Drank poems from that throat as from a cup.
Over the great world’s notes did these prevail.
       And not alone
The signal poets woke. In listening man,
Woman, and child a poet stirs unknown,
Throughout the Mays of birds since Mays began.
       He rose, he heard—
Our father, our St. Peter, in his tears—
The crowing, twice, of the prophetic bird,
The saddest cock-crow of our human years.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 14, 2001; not revised.