Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CYPRESS, by ARTHUR WILLIAM EDGAR O'SHAUGHNESSY



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THE CYPRESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O ivory bird, that shakest thy wan plumes
Last Line: Long in the shadow of the cypress tree.
Alternate Author Name(s): O'shaughnessy, Arthur W. E.
Subject(s): Birds; Cypress Trees


O Ivory bird, that shakest thy wan plumes,
And dost forget the sweetness of thy throat
For a most strange and melancholy note—
That wilt forsake the summer and the blooms
And go to winter in a place remote!

The country where thou goest, Ivory bird!
It hath no pleasant nesting-place for thee;
There are no skies nor flowers fair to see,
Nor any shade at noon—as I have heard—
But the black shadow of the Cypress tree.

The Cypress tree, it groweth on a mound;
And sickly are the flowers it hath of May,
Full of a false and subtle spell are they;
For whoso breathes the scent of them around,
He shall not see the happy Summer day.

In June, it bringeth forth, O Ivory bird!
A winter berry, bitter as the sea;
And whoso eateth of it, woe is he—
He shall fall pale, and sleep—as I have heard—
Long in the shadow of the Cypress tree.





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