Our Singing Strength
It snowed in spring on earth so dry and warm The flakes could find no landing place to form. Hordes spent themselves to make it wet and cold, And still they failed of any lasting hold. They made no white impression on the black. They disappeared as if earth sent them back. Not till from separate flakes they changed at night To almost strips and tapes of ragged white Did grass and garden ground confess it snowed, And all go back to winter but the road. Next day the scene was piled and puffed and dead. The grass lay flattened under one great tread. Borne down until the end almost took root, The rangey bough anticipated fruit With snowball cupped in every opening bud. The road alone maintained itself in mud, Whatever its secret was of greater heat From inward fires or brush of passing feet. In spring more mortal singers than belong To any one place cover us with song. Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng; Some to go further north to Hudson’s Bay, Some that have come too far north back away, Really a very few to build and stay. Now was seen how these liked belated snow. the field had nowhere left for them to go; They’d soon exhausted all there was in flying; The trees they’d had enough of with once trying And setting off their heavy powder load. They could find nothing open but the road. Sot there they let their lives be narrowed in By thousands the bad weather made akin. The road became a channel running flocks Of glossy birds like ripples over rocks. I drove them under foot in bits of flight That kept the ground. almost disputing right Of way with me from apathy of wing, A talking twitter all they had to sing. A few I must have driven to despair Made quick asides, but having done in air A whir among white branches great and small As in some too much carven marble hall Where one false wing beat would have brought down all, Came tamely back in front of me, the Drover, To suffer the same driven nightmare over. One such storm in a lifetime couldn’t teach them That back behind pursuit it couldn’t reach them; None flew behind me to be left alone. Well, something for a snowstorm to have shown The country’s singing strength thus brought together, the thought repressed and moody with the weather Was none the less there ready to be freed And sing the wildflowers up from root and seed.
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