I flung my soul to the air like a falcon flying. I said, "Wait on, wait on, while I ride below! I shall start a heron soon In the marsh beneath the moon — A strange white heron rising with silver on its wings, Rising and crying Wordless, wondrous things; The secret of the stars, of the world's heart-strings, The answer to their woe. Then stoop thou upon him, and grip and hold him so!"
My wild soul waited on as falcons hover. I beat the reedy fens as I trampled past. I heard the mournful loon In the marsh beneath the moon. And then — with feathery thunder — the bird of my desire Broke from the cover Flashing silver fire. High up among the stars I saw his pinions spire. The pale clouds gazed aghast As my falcon stoopt upon him, and gript and held him fast.
My soul dropt through the air — with heavenly plunder? — Gripping the dazzling bird my dreaming knew? Nay! but a piteous freight, A dark and heavy weight Despoiled of silver plumage, its voice forever stilled, — All of the wonder Gone that ever filled Its guise with glory. Oh, bird that I have killed, How brilliantly you flew Across my rapturous vision when first I dreamed of you!
Yet I fling my soul on high with new endeavor, And I ride the world below with a joyful mind. I shall start a heron soon In the marsh beneath the moon — A wondrous silver heron its inner darkness fledges! I beat forever The fens and the sedges. The pledge is still the same — for all disastrous pledges, All hopes resigned! My soul still flies above me for the quarry it shall find.