O Lord, I cannot but believe
The birds do sing thy praises then, when they sing to one another,
And they are lying seed-sown land when the winter makes them grieve,
Their little bosoms breeding songs for the summer to unsmother!
If thou hadst finished me, O Lord,
Nor left out of me part of that great gift that goes to singing,
I sure had known the meaning high of the songster’s praising word,
Had known upon what thoughts of thee his pearly talk he was stringing!
I should have read the wisdom hid
In the storm-inspired melody of thy thrush’s bosom solemn:
I should not then have understood what thy free spirit did
To make the lark-soprano mount like to a geyser-column!
I think I almost understand
Thy owl, his muffled swiftness, moon-round eyes, and intoned hooting;
I think I could take up the part of a night-owl in the land,
With yellow moon and starry things day-dreamers all confuting.
But ‘mong thy creatures that do sing
Perhaps of all I likest am to the housetop-haunting sparrow,
That flies brief, sudden flights upon a dumpy, fluttering wing,
And chirps thy praises from a throat that’s very short and narrow.
But if thy sparrow praise thee well
By singing well thy song, nor letting noisy traffic quell it,
It may be that, in some remote and leafy heavenly dell,
He may with a trumpet-throat awake, and a trumpet-song to swell it!