Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SWALLOW, by JOHN BURROUGHS



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THE SWALLOW, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: At play in april skies that spread
Last Line: But leave our love cemented.
Subject(s): Birds; Swallows


At play in April skies that spread
Their azure depths above my head,
As onward to the woods I sped,
I heard the swallow twitter;
Oh, skater in the fields of air,
On steely wings that sweep and dare,
To gain these scenes thy only care,
Nor fear the winds are bitter.

This call from thee is tidings dear,
The news that crowns the vernal year,
'Tis true, 'tis true, the swallow's here,
The south wind brings her greeting;
Thy voice is neither call nor song,
And yet it starts a varied throng
Of fancies sweet and memories long, --
It sounds like lovers meeting.

I know thou dost not kiss on wing,
I know thou dost not pipe or sing,
Or bill or coo, or any such thing,
And yet these sounds ecstatic;
Thy ruddy breast from over seas,
Like embers quickened by he breeze,
Now feels the warmth of love's decrees
That make thy needs emphatic.

Ah, well i know thy deep-dyed vest,
Thy burnished wing, thy feathered nest,
Thy lyric flight at love's behest,
And all thy ways so airy.
Thou art a nursling of the air,
No earthly food makes up thy fare,
But soaring things both frail and rare, --
Fit diet of a fairy.

I see thee sit upon the ground
And stoop and stare and hobble round,
As if thy silly legs were bound,
Or it were freezing weather;
Thou hast but little need of feet, --
To gather mortar for thy seat,
To perch on wires above the street,
Or pick up straw or feather.

Kind nature gave thee power of flight,
And sheen of plume and iris bright,
And everything that was thy right,
And thou art well contented;
In August days thy young are grown,
Then southward turn to warmer zone,
And follow where thy mates have flown,
But leave our love cemented.





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