The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition


The starling in the ivy now,

For to amuse his dear,

Mimics the dog, the cat, the cow,

Blackbird and Chanticleer.

The starling's an accomplished mime:

Between his love-making

He solaces her brooding-time

By many a madcap thing.

He is the saw, the spade, the scythe,

He rings the dinner bell;

Chuckles of laughter, small and blithe,

Of self-laudations tell.

Now by the battle-field he mocks

As though 'twere but a game,

Thunder with which the belfry rocks

And the great bursts of flame.

Till when the merriment will pall

He turns to love again,

Calling his love-sick gurgling call

Above the dying men.

Who knows what dream the starling weaves

Of boyhood, soft and clean?

A small room under golden eaves

To which the sun looks in.

The starling's talking in the thatch,

Bidding the boy arise;

And the door's opening on the latch

To show -- his mother's eyes.