(after Rimbaud)

Lord, when the meadows are cold,

and when in the despondent

hamlets all prayer is silent,

down on Nature bare and old

let them swoop from the skies, those

dearest and delightful crows.

Strange troops with your cheerless cries,

winds assault your nests, it seems!

Over winter’s jaundiced streams,

lanes with moss-grown calvaries,

over fosses, over rivers,

you reassemble and disperse!

In thousands, over fields of France

where sleep the youths of yesterday,

wheel all winter long, I say,

rousing pilgrims from their trance;

may your croak be duty’s call,

bird of cloak funereal!

Yet, saints of the sky, stood upon

oak-tops in enchanted dusk,

leave the nightingale to us

who, deep in woods where love has gone,

fettered by the tangling grass,

view a night that shall not pass.