The Killdee

By George Sterling

With sound and broken gleam
Of silver fled the stream,
  As fled the gipsy moments of that day.
  The shadows where I lay
Were woven with the shadows of my dream.

A lone bird crying "Ai!"
Under a lonely sky
  Haunted the summer with her note of grief,
  That seemed to say how brief
The time was ere the summer's flowers should die.

I hated her-that bird
Whose wild, reiterant word
  Was but the burden of the conscious heart.
  So may the singer's art
Echo a music we have never heard.

But hate or not, her call
Was in the noon 's blue hall,
  Waking the question that all sorrows wake,
  Though heart and music break,
Ere the hushed lips of Evening answer all.

The twilight came at last.
Reluctant, yet too fast.
  The stream alone had voice within the peace
  That bade her cry to cease.
I missed her grieving, now that it had passed!

Beyond our common needs
What subtile hunger pleads
  For the unhappy? Crave we overmuch
  Beauty's autumnal touch,
That wakes the soul to follow where she leads? 

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