Rooks (II)

By Charles Sorley

THERE is such cry in all these birds,
More than can ever be express'd;
If I should put it into words,
You would agree it were not best
To wake such wonder from its rest.

But since to-night the world is still
And only they and I astir,
We are united, will to will,
By bondage tighter, tenderer
Than any lovers ever were.

And if, of too much labouring,
All that I see around should die
(There is such sleep in each green thing,
Such weariness in all the sky),
We would live on, these birds and I.

Yet how? since everything must pass
At evening with the sinking sun,
And Christ is gone, and Barabbas,
Judas and Jesus, gone, clean gone,
Then how shall I live on?

Yet surely Judas must have heard
Amidst his torments the long cry
Of some lone Israelitish bird,
And on it, ere he went to die,
Thrown all his spirit's agony.

And that immortal cry which welled
For Judas, ever afterwards
Passion on passion still has swelled
And sweetened, till to-night these birds
Will take my words, will take my words,

And wrapping them in music meet
Will sing their spirit through the sky,
Strange and unsatisfied and sweetó
That, when stock-dead am I, am I,
O, these will never die!

July 1913
Sunday, March 3rd, 2024