The Coming Of May

The leaves on liquid ambar tree have turned a russet yellow
And balding oak stand in the rain like aged hoary fellow
And May stole through the silent wood and no one heard her coming
She came at dark in russet cloak when the frogmouth was humming.

On the high gum trees all the day the currawongs are calling
They come down from the high country when Autumn leaves are falling
Through winter in the Sherbrooke woods in flocks they sing together
You always hear them in the rain and in changeable weather.

The migratory birds have gone up north the wood and welcome swallow,
The pallid cuckoo and cuckoo shrike the call of Nature follow,
The migratory bird like migrant man at heart may be a rover
But she return home to breed when Winter days are over.

Deciduous trees will soon be bare 'til buds bloom in September
And they will wear their Summer green by dawning of December
If Winter come Spring must be near and homeward swallow winging
And Sherbrooke woods again resound to golden whistler singing

The May came in her russet cloak through woodland she stole quietly
Whilst ring tail possum on the tree from branch to branch stepped lightly,
She came unnoticed and unheard when boobook owl was calling
And withered leaves from oak and ash to woodland floor were falling.

by Francis Duggan

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