Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WILD GEESE, by PATRICK REGINALD CHALMERS

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WILD GEESE, by            
First Line: They're shy as the otter, they're sly as the fox
Last Line: When the grey geese come calling off the tides!
Subject(s): Geese; Hunting; Hunters

THEY'RE shy as the otter, they're sly as the fox,
They're worse to approach than the craftiest hind,
You may freeze on the fore-shore or crouch on the rocks,
You may soak in the sea-fog or wait in the wind,
Through their magical music will give you no peace,
Yet your bag shall go empty, for aren't they wild geese?

Honk-honk, honk-honk, the distant voices clank it;
The wet retriever trembles at your knee;
For he hears the lone notes falling,
Where the long grey tides are crawling,
Through the shouting west wind's buffets or the dripping fog's chill blanket,
As the wild geese come shoreward from the sea!
You may stalk them at sundown, at dawning's first flame,
They've ears for the wariest, softest of treads,
And, stook-time or snow-time, the end is the same—
A picket gives warning and up go their heads:
Yes, your boots (wet as sponges in spite of their grease)
You may wear to brown paper in chasing wild geese!

Yet still, honk-honk, a northern charm shall fold you,
Though Shot shall shake the raindrops from his sides,
Though you catch the drifting clamour
Through the sleet squall's sting and hammer,
Still the flight shall work its magic and the breathless stalk shall hold you,
When the grey geese come calling off the tides!

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