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  ― 40 ―

The Going of the Grey Geese

At the end of March all the grey geese in the Hebrides collect together in one place and then depart for their nesting haunts within the Arctic Circle.”


ERE Spring has come with song o'er the sobbing outer seas,
And the sough of April rain to the green Hebrides,
Crowd the wild geese all a-gabble in a strange excited rabble,
For it's northward go the greylags,
The greylags,
Honking north go the greylags grey.

There's a whisper down the wind, there's a call across the sea
Of a nest among the crags of a white countree,
And it's gather from the hushes of the furze-land and the rushes;
“Gather in!” cry all the greylags,
The greylags,
“Gather!” cry the greylags grey.

Never year but comes the sign from the barren and the peak,
Where the merry dancers trip and the polar skies are bleak,
And it's wing and wing together from a world of whins and heather,
Honking homeward go the greylags,
The greylags,
Honking home go the greylags grey.




  ― 41 ―
Like a shooting star at eve, like an arrow from a bow,
Cleaving straight in trackless blue the clean way they all must go,
To a hot huzza of greeting and the roll of pinions beating
Sails the King of all the greylags,
The greylags,
The King of all the greylags grey.

Oh, was it magic flute or enchanted viol's sigh
Floating down from Heaven's gates? Hark the rapturous reply!
Hark, the clamour and the bustle of a million wings a-rustle!
“We are coming!” cry the greylags,
The greylags,
“Coming!” cry the greylags grey.

Nor'-nor'-east across the sky, wing and wing and neck and neck,
Till the blurred ranks gloom to cloud and the last cloud is a speck.
Nor'-nor'-east for far fields flying, and echo answers, dying,
“Honk, a-honk, a-honk!” the greylags,
The greylags,
“Honk…. onk,” the greylags grey.

So Spring comes in with song o'er the sobbing outer seas,
And the sough of April rain on the green Hebrides,
And the wild geese gabble-gabble in a strange excited rabble,
For it's northward go the greylags,
The greylags,
Honking north go the greylags grey.

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