(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

A November Note

Why, throstle, do you sing
In this November haze?
Singing for what? for whom?
Deem you that it is Spring,
Or that your lonely lays
Will stave off Winter's gloom?

Then did the bird reply:
``I sing because I know
That Spring will surely come:
That is the reason why,
Though menaced by the snow,
Even now I am not dumb.

``But few are they that hear,
And fewer still that feel,
The meaning of my song,
Until the note be clear,
Re-echoed be the peal,
Early, and late, and long.

``But you have heard and owned
The sound of my refrain,
Yet tentative and low.
Thus, poet, be intoned
Your own foreshadowing strain,
Trusting that some will know:

``That some will know and say,
When greetings of the Spring
Wake Winter from its bed,
This is the self-same lay
We overheard him sing
When dead hearts deemed him dead.''

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