Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Sentinel

by Thomas Joseph Walton AKA West Cheshire Lad


Hark! ‘Tis for me the stormcock’s striking note!
Sentinel on poplar bough, bugler o’er castle moat!
My carol: - the wild shout of challenging mistle thrush,
Piercing trumpet call shrill o’er hawthorn bush.
Farewell! My heart pangs of a bygone day,
Of many happy hours, years in a flowered bouquet
Embraced in years to the perfumed rose.
Ah, so short the day, my sweet repose.
Call again, O wind on summer plain!
Your whispering byways I will travel again.
Come! Drink again the breath of wild thyme,
Awakened to your peaceful beauty, joy sublime.
Entranced, I gaze on lofty rocky crag,
Silhouette of the battle-scarred old warrior stag.
I’ll take the walk on pastures green again,
To feel the breath, the beating of your rain.
Alas, - the visions that flash before my faded eye
Of birds on wing, as feathery clouds float by.
What bliss I found, my childhood days to roam
Along your leafy lanes, your fields of furrowed loam.
When all around I glimpse my joy, my love; -
Untold glorious melodies, peaceful loving dove.
Many are the days since I heard the talk of quail
Or crake amidst the corn or shy land rail.
Perhaps some early morn I’ll wake to find
That I walk once more amidst the trees so kind,
To kiss the leaf escaped from prison cage,
And leave my bed, with aching body broke with age,
And hear the babbling, musing, silver stream,
Ne’er to wake and find it all a dream.
Come, bonny thrush, gladden my sorrowing heart!
You know, my singing bird, that soon we part.
Each morn I gladly welcome your trumpet song
To ease my aching bones, my day so long.
Cannot I hear the singing lark on high,
Gentle rustling corn, with muffled sigh?
‘Tis not a dream! I see the fields of green, -
Or fevered brow to gaze on all serene?
O, gentle bird! I lie in a field of bliss;
The trumpet blows; I wait your peaceful kiss.
Alive to death I hear your solemn cry
And watch the tears fall gently from your eye.
Singing bird, my life with you was long,
But now ‘tis faint, your mournful loving song.
I leave you now to soar above the cloud,
My body still to drape and wrap in shroud.
Bury me how and where you please;
My soul released, to fly on murmuring breeze.
Play not your dirge for me or sob your throat,
For music from the heart needs not the funeral note.
Shed not your tears for me to ease your loss;
My body laid in earth and creeping moss.
I listen now to the voice of peaceful time
Calling me on to that precious love divine;
Music of the angels playing for me,
To stir my heart and bring back memory
Of meadow grass and perfumed nature’s child,
My feet to sink in turf, the emerald sod;
Again once more I see the works of God.

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