Before The Fair

'Lost,' 'lost,' the beeves and the bullocks,
The cattle men sell and buy,
Crowded upon the fair green,
Low to the lightless sky.

'Live,' 'live,' and 'Here,' 'here,' the blackbird
From the top of the bare ash-tree,
Over the acres whistles
With beak of yellow blee.

And climbing, turning, and climbing
His little stair of sound,
'Content,' 'content,' from the low hedge
The redbreast sings in a round.

And I who hear that hedge-song
Will fare with all the rest,
With thoughts of lust and labour,
And bargain in my breast.

The bare hedge bright with rain-drops
That have not fallen down,
The golden-crowded whin-bush
Nor know these things my own!

by Padraic Colum

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