To a Bird (1892)
I'm listening, father, to a sound
That I have heard thee say
Did come to call thee to thy toil
Just at the break of day.
It's sweet and thrilling melody
Is ringing in the air,
And tells me that the day will break
With promise bright and fair.
I wonder if it is the same
Bright warbler of the sky
That came so oft to waken thee
In busy days gone by.
I bless it though it may not be,
And also fate that led
It hither to dispel a dream
That filled my soul with dread.
For thoughts of that real-seeming dream
Still fill my heart with pain,
And echoes of a stricken scream
Come back to me again.
For thou had weary grown, I thought,
And cast thy burden down,
And I was here for evermore
To toil on earth alone.
But when I woke and heard that bird
Its sweet notes on me fell
With re-assurance calm and sweet
That told me all was well.
I thank it now most fervently
For singing o'er my head;
But, father, may it call in vain
To wake me when thou'rt dead.
But, oh! could we together leave
This weary world, at best,
We'd happy be did song as sweet
Proclaim our dawn of rest.