Edward Thomas

Sedge Warblers

This beauty makes me dream there was a time 
Long past and irrecoverable, a clime
Where river of such radiance racing clear 
Through buttercup and kingcup bright as brass 
But gentle, nourishing the meadow-grass
That leans and scurries in the wind, would bear 
Another beauty, divine and feminine,
Child of the sun, whose happy soul unstained 
Could love all day, and never hate or tire, 
Lover of mortal or immortal kin.
And yet rid of this dream, ere I had drained
Its poison, quieted was my desire
So that I only looked into the water
And hearkened, while it combed the dark-green hair 
And shook the millions of the blossoms white
Of water crowfoot, and curdled in one sheet
The flowers fallen from the chestnuts in the park 
Far off. The sedge-warblers that hung so light
On willow twigs, sang longer than any lark, 
Quick, shrill or grating, a song to match the heat
 Of the strong sun, nor less the water’s cool 
Gushing through narrows, swirling in the pool. 
Their song that lacks all words, all melody,
All sweetness almost, was dearer now to me
Than sweetest voice that sings in tune sweet word: 
This was the best of May, the small brown birds 
Wisely reiterating endlessly
What no man learnt yet, in or out of school.