Poetry 201 Potluck Assignment

 

183

I was given an optional assignment to share with the class a favorite poem which I did not write. Here is a poem that I have always loved from the first time I read it. Ever since then this vision of a lone bird traveling into the sunset on a solitary journey has remained forever etched in my mind. After re-reading and reconsidering this poem, I am realizing that the waterfowl’s solitary journey seems to resemble my own life path as I have been often alone to think, contemplate things, and then write about it. The writing journey is truly a personal and solitary path. And I am certainly sensing that God is indeed directing my course in life.

To a Waterfowl

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

(1794-1878)

          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 seen against 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 chaféd 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 trace alone,

          Will lead my steps aright.

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