Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON SEEING A WILD BIRD, by ALICE CARY



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ON SEEING A WILD BIRD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Beautiful symbol of a freer life
Last Line: The world must swing round to her, soon or late.
Subject(s): Birds


BEAUTIFUL symbol of a freer life,
Knowing no purpose, and yet true to one;
Would I could learn thy wisdom, I who run
This way and that, striving against my strife.

No fancy vague, no object half unknown,
Diverts thee from thyself. By stops and starts
I live the while by little broken parts
A thousand lives, -- not one of all, my own.

Thou sing'st thy full heart out, and low or high
Flyest at pleasure; who of us can say
He lives his inmost self e'en for a day,
And does the thing he would? alas, not I.

We hesitate, go backward, and return,
And when the earth with living sunshine gleams,
We make a darkness round us with our dreams,
And wait for that which we ourselves should earn.

For we shall work out answers to our needs
If we have continuity of will
To hold our shifting purposes until
They germinate, and bring forth fruit in deeds.

We ask and hope too much, -- too lightly press
Toward the end sought, and haply learn, at length,
That we have vainly dissipated strength
Which, concentrated, would have brought success.

But Truth is sure, and can afford to wait
Our slow perception, (error ebbs and flows;)
Her essence is eternal, and she knows
The world must swing round to her, soon or late.





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