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To a Waterfowl
WHITHER midst falling dew
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day
Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye 5
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong
As darkly seen against the crimson sky
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake or marge of river wide 10
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean-side?
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast¡ª
The desert and illimitable air¡ª 15
Lone wandering but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned
At that far height the cold thin atmosphere
Yet stoop not weary to the welcome land
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou 'rt gone the abyss of heaven 25
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given
And shall not soon depart.
He who from zone to zone
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight 30
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.
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