Friday, 8 September 2017
Walter de la Mare
At secret daybreak they had met —
Chill mist beneath the welling light
Screening the marshes green and wet —
An ardent legion wild for flight.
Each preened and sleeked an arrowlike wing;
Their eager throats with lapsing cries
Praising whatever fate might bring —
Cold wave, or Africa's paradise.
Unventured, trackless leagues of air,
England's sweet summer narrowing on,
Her lovely pastures: nought their care —
Only this ardour to be gone.
A tiny, elflike, ecstatic host ...
And 'neath them, on the highway's crust,
Like some small mute belated ghost,
A sparrow pecking in the dust.