To a Waterfowl

William Cullen Bryant

 
   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
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
   Thy figure floats along.
   Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
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,--
The desert and illimitable air,--
   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
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,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
   Will lead my steps aright.
 

Poems by This Author

A Song for New Year's Eve by William Cullen Bryant
Stay yet, my friends, a moment stayŚ
Midsummer by William Cullen Bryant
A power is on the earth and in the air
November by William Cullen Bryant
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant
To him who in the love of Nature holds
The Gladness of Nature by William Cullen Bryant
Is this a time to be cloudy and sad
The Planting of the Apple-Tree by William Cullen Bryant
Come, let us plant the apple-tree


Further Reading

Poems about Birds
Tender Buttons [Chicken]
by Gertrude Stein
Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]
by Charles Wright
Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
The Scarlet Ibis, Section VII
by Susan Hahn
A Bird came down the Walk (328)
by Emily Dickinson
A Bird in Hand
by Amber Flora Thomas
A Peacock in Spring
by Joyelle McSweeney
Albatross in Co. Antrim
by Robin Robertson
Birdcall
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Birding at the Dairy
by Sidney Wade
Birds Again
by Jim Harrison
Birds Appearing In A Dream
by Michael Collier
Black bird, red wing
by Nickole Brown
Darwin's Finches
by Deborah Digges
Dispatches from Devereux Slough
by Mark Jarman
Dove, Interrupted
by Lucie Brock-Broido
Evening Hawk
by Robert Penn Warren
Ground Birds in Open Country
by Stanley Plumly
Gulls
by William Carlos Williams
Hardware Sparrows
by R. T. Smith
Home to Roost
by Kay Ryan
Hope is the thing with feathers (254)
by Emily Dickinson
Hummingbird
by Elaine Terranova
I am Like a Desert Owl, an Owl Among the Ruins
by Noelle Kocot
If the Owl Calls Again
by John Haines
In Flight
by Jennifer K. Sweeney
In the Memphis Airport
by Timothy Steele
Interlude
by Edith Sitwell
Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens
by Jack Prelutsky
Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats
Leda, After the Swan
by Carl Phillips
Let Birds
by Linda Gregg
My Mother Would Be a Falconress
by Robert Duncan
Ode to a Nightingale
by John Keats
Paper Swallow
by Stanley Moss
Poet as Immortal Bird
by Ron Padgett
Red-Legged Kittiwake
by Emily Wilson
Revision in My Wife's Powder Room
by Lauren Berry
Small Study
by Emily Wilson
Song of the Owl
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sympathy
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Eagle
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
The Heron
by Linda Hogan
The Life So Short...
by Eamon Grennan
The Nightingale
by Sir Philip Sidney
The Parakeets
by Alberto Blanco
The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Sparrow
by Gerald Stern
The Starlings
by Jesper Svenbro
The Windhover
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Yellow Bittern (An Bunnan Bui)
by Cathal Bui Mac Giolla Gunna
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens
Three Moves
by John Logan
Tigers
by Melissa Ginsburg
To a Skylark
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
White Stork
by Michael Waters
Wild Swans
by Edna St. Vincent Millay