WRB (1886-1950 / United States)

The Falconer Of God

I flung my soul to the air like a falcon flying.
I said, "Wait on, wait on, while I ride below!
   I shall start a heron soon
   In the marsh beneath the moon --
A strange white heron rising with silver on its wings,
   Rising and crying
   Wordless, wondrous things;
The secret of the stars, of the world's heart-strings,
   The answer to their woe.
Then stoop thou upon him, and grip and hold him so!"

   My wild soul waited on as falcons hover.
   I beat the reedy fens as I trampled past.
   I heard the mournful loon
   In the marsh beneath the moon.
And then -- with feathery thunder -- the bird of my desire
   Broke from the cover
   Flashing silver fire.
   High up among the stars I saw his pinions spire.
   The pale clouds gazed aghast
As my falcon stoopt upon him, and gript and held him fast.

My soul dropt through the air -- with heavenly plunder? --
Gripping the dazzling bird my dreaming knew?
   Nay! but a piteous freight,
   A dark and heavy weight
Despoiled of silver plumage, its voice forever stilled, --
   All of the wonder
   Gone that ever filled
Its guise with glory. Oh, bird that I have killed,
   How brilliantly you flew
Across my rapturous vision when first I dreamed of you!

   Yet I fling my soul on high with new endeavor,
   And I ride the world below with a joyful mind.
   I shall start a heron soon
   In the marsh beneath the moon --
A wondrous silver heron its inner darkness fledges!
   I beat forever
   The fens and the sedges.
   The pledge is still the same -- for all disastrous pledges,
   All hopes resigned!
My soul still flies above me for the quarry it shall find.

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