Friday, February 29, 2008

Poetry Friday - An Early Bluebird

I have spring on the brain, as I'm sure many of you do. Growing up in western New York, the robin was always the harbinger of spring. I would turn cartwheels upon seeing the first one of the season, because I knew it signaled the end of winter. Now that I live in Virginia, I see robins all winter. Who now brings the promise of spring? The bluebird.
An Early Bluebird
by Maurice Thompson

Leap to the highest height of spring,
   And trill thy sweetest note,
Bird of the heavenly plumes and twinkling wing
   And silver-toned throat!

Sing, while the maple’s deepest root
   Thrills with a pulse of fire
That lights its buds. Blow, blow thy tender flute,
   Thy reed of rich desire!

Breathe in thy syrinx Freedom’s breath,
   Quaver the fresh and true,
Dispel this lingering wintry mist of death
   And charm the world anew!

Thou first sky-dipped spring-bud of song,
   Whose heavenly ecstasy
Foretells the May while yet March winds are strong,
   Fresh faith appears with thee!

How sweet, how magically rich,
   Through filmy splendor blown,
Thy hopeful voice set to the promise-pitch
   Of melody yet unknown!

O land of mine (where hope can grow
   And send a deeper root
With every spring), hear, heed the free bird blow
   Hope’s charmed flute!

Ah! who will hear, and who will care,
   And who will heed thy song,
As prophecy, as hope, as promise rare,
   Budding to bloom ere long?

From swelling bulbs and sprouting seed,
   Sweet sap and fragrant dew,
And human hearts, grown doubly warm at need,
   Leaps answer strong and true:

We see, we hear (thou liberty-loving thing,
   That down spring winds doth float),
The promise of thine empyrean wing,
   The hope that floods thy throat!
Puzzled by syrinx? I was too, until I pulled out the Oxford English Dictionary. A syrinx is (1) an ancient musical instrument (pan pipe) or (2) the organ of voice in birds.

The round up this week is being hosted by Kelly Fineman over at Writing and Ruminating. On this fair leap day, do be sure to stop by and take in all the wonderful poetry being shared. Before you go, don't miss this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. Aww, that`s a beauty.

  2. Like this poem!

    Sheesh, I don't know who the harbinger of spring here is, but yesterday I snapped a gorgeous photo of a magpie, and in a moment of weak sun, the light off of his wings looked an electric blue. From a distance they look black and white... but color lurks -- like Spring -- where it's not expected.

    Goodness, hope it dries out and warms up for everybody soon!

  3. Lovely poem! Just saw about 6 bluebirds at the feeder the other day. So beautiful -- and definitely a reason to leap!

  4. Oh, that's nice. Thanks for saving me the looking up of syrinx.

    I heard a robin this morning ... winter will end, winter will end, winter *will* end ....

  5. I've lived in upstate NY all my life, and you are so right about looking for robins. Wierdly, they've been back for the last month... and it's 15 degrees!

    Lovely poem. Bluebirds are amazing.

  6. Syrinx is such a great word. I guess like pharynx or larynx. Thanks for saving me from looking it up!

  7. The robins stay here all year round now, it's a change in their behavior. We don't see bluebirds until May though - what a great poem to read today. I especially love -

    "Sing, while the maple’s deepest root
    Thrills with a pulse of fire
    That lights its buds. Blow, blow thy tender flute,
    Thy reed of rich desire! "

  8. Ahh...a breath of spring. Thanks!

  9. I had to go look up empyrean, also. Did you know Wikipedia has a whole entry on it?

    Lovely poem. I've been thinking of robins and birds, too, because of reading The Secret Garden...