The Mother Bird

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The Mother Bird
written by Walter de la Mare
Songs of Childhood (1902)




    Through the green twilight of a hedge
    I peered, with cheek on the cool leaves pressed,
    And spied a bird upon a nest:
    Two eyes she had beseeching me
    Meekly and brave, and her brown breast
    Throbb'd hot and quick above her heart;
    And then she oped her dagger bill,--
    'Twas not a chirp, as sparrows pipe
    At break of day; 'twas not a trill,
    As falters through the quiet even;
    But one sharp solitary note,
    One desperate, fierce, and vivid cry
    Of valiant tears, and hopeless joy,
    One passionate note of victory:
    Off, like a fool afraid, I sneaked,
    Smiling the smile the fool smiles best,
    At the mother bird in the secret hedge
    Patient upon her lonely nest.

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