This classic poem by William Cullen Bryant is well known, but each time I read it I love where he takes me. I love the nature poets. I have sat by a pond or lake many times fishing and watching the ducks fly in for a landing with their wings making that soothing whistling sound. I have watched as well, many times the ducks in the distance, a shadow in the setting suns light, so I particularly like this one and where it takes me.
To a Waterfowl
Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou purse
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on 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 chafed 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 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 tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
William Cullen Bryant.