Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SEDGE WARBLER, by RALPH HODGSON



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THE SEDGE WARBLER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In early summer moonlight I have strayed
Last Line: Till broke the babel of the summer day.
Subject(s): Birds


IN EARLY summer moonlight I have strayed
Down pass and wildway of the wooded hill
With wonder as again the sedge bird made

His old, old ballad new beside the mill.
And I have stolen closer to the song
That, lispèd low, would swell and change to shrill,

Thick, chattered cheeps that seemed not to belong
Of right to the frail elfin throat that threw
Them on the stream, their waker. There among

The willows I have watched as over flew
A noctule making zig-zag round the lone,
Dark elm whose shadow clipt grotesque the new

Green lawn below. On softest breezes blown
From some far brake, the cruising fern-owl's cry
Would stay my steps; a beetle's nearing drone

Would steal upon my sense and pass and die.
There I have heard in that still, solemn hour
The quickened thorn from slaving weeds untie

A prisoned leaf or furled bloom, whose dower
Of incense yet burned in the warm June night;
By darkness cozened from his grot to cower

And curve the night long, that shy eremite
The lowly, banded eft would seek his prey;
A thousand worlds my silent world would light
Till broke the babel of the summer day.





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