780. The Speech of Birds, by Kathleen Raine

It is not birds that speak, but men learn silence;
They know and need no language; leaf-wise
In shadowy flight, threading the leafy trees,
Expressive only of the world's long thoughts,
Absolute rises their one-pointed song,
Not from a heart divided, and in pain.

The sweet-eyed, unregarding beasts
Waking and sleeping wear the natural grace.
The innocent order of the stars and tides
An impulse in the blood-stream circulates.
Obedient to the one living pulse,
With them, at heart, converse the saints.

We, ignorant and outcast, stand
Wondering at the swallow's flight
Gazing at the open hand,
Questioning the lines of fate—
Each individual destiny
Preying on an exiled mind.

Our words, our concepts, only name
A world of shadows; for the truth is plain
That visited Jacob in a dream,
And Moses, from the burning desert heard,
Or angels in annunciation bring.

Source: Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine

No comments:

Post a Comment