Monday, 25 October 2010

Lord Dunsany, To The Birds

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany died 53 years ago today, 25th October 1957. I visited Dunsany's grave in the church yard in Shoreham in the summer and spent a day walking among the hills and woods that he knew. A series of essays about my Dunsany Pilgrimage will be posted on this blog in time but for the moment, and to mark the day of the death of a man who loved wildfowling as much as he loved writing, I post his poem To The Birds.
When I am dead and the bird
That through the long reeds go,
Though they hear no man's words,
Those Wandering Birds Will know.
The duck, the snipe, the teal,
All folk of heath and fen,
The news will hear or feel
Before it comes to men.
In ferns where woodcock hide,
By bays where widgeon lie,
And where the bog goes wide
And gleaming to the sky.
By Many a reedy lake
And many a mile of ling
Its speed will overtake
The golden plover's wing;
By glint of moon or star,
Through darkness among trees
The news will wend as far
As the far-travelling geese;
And grouse on windy moors,
Jack-snipe on coloured moss,
And birds the love lone shores
Far north will know the loss.
And nought have I to say
Against their myriad voice
Arising on that day
To sing, "Rejoice! Rejoice!"

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