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Blackbird Poems

About Blackbirds

Table of Contents

  1. The Blackbird by William Ernest Henley
  2. The Blackbird by Frederick Tennyson
  3. The Blackbird by Alfred Edward Housman
  4. The Blackbird by William Barnes
  5. There Were Two Blackbirds Sitting on a Hill by Anonymous
  6. The Bobolink by John B. Tabb
  7. Bobolink by John Burroughs
  8. The BoboLink by Thomas Hill
  9. The BoboLinks by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  10. Robert of Lincoln by William Cullen Bryant
  11. The O'Lincon Family by William Barnes
  12. The Red-Winged Blackbird by Ethelwyn Wetherald
  13. Blackbirds by Ellen P. Allerton
  14. The Red-Winged Blackbird by Maude Gue Goodrich

Poems About Blackbirds

The term "blackbird" is a general term that may refer to a number of different species of birds. Blackbirds can be divided into two groups: Old World Blackbirds and New World Blackbirds. Within each group are a number of different species. New World Blackbirds, for instance, include Orioles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Meadowlarks and Bobolinks.

  1. The Blackbird

    by William Ernest Henley

    The nightingale has a lyre of gold;
    The lark's is a clarion call,
    And the blackbird plays but a box-wood flute,
    But I love him best of all.

    For his song is all of the joy of life,
    And we in the mad, spring weather,
    We too have listened till he sang
    Our hearts and lips together.

  2. The Blackbird

    by Frederick Tennyson

    How sweet the harmonies of afternoon:
    The Blackbird sings along the sunny breeze
    His ancient song of leaves, and summer boon;
    Rich breath of hayfields streams through whispering trees;
    And birds of morning trim their bustling wings,
    And listen fondly—while the Blackbird sings.

    How soft the lovelight of the West reposes
    On this green valley's cheery solitude,
    On the trim cottage with its screen of roses,
    On the gray belfry with its ivy hood,
    And murmuring mill-race, and the wheel that flings
    Its bubbling freshness—while the Blackbird sings.

    The very dial on the village church
    Seems as 'twere dreaming in a dozy rest;
    The scribbled benches underneath the porch
    Bask in the kindly welcome of the West;
    But the broad casements of the old Three Kings
    Blaze like a furnace—while the Blackbird sings.

    And there beneath the immemorial elm
    Three rosy revellers round a table sit,
    And through gray clouds give laws unto the realm,
    Curse good and great, but worship their own wit.
    And roar of fights, and fairs, and junketings,
    Corn, colts, and curs—the while the Blackbird sings.

    Before her home, in her accustomed seat,
    The tidy Grandam spins beneath the shade
    Of the old honeysuckle, at her feet
    The dreaming pug, and purring tabby laid;
    To her low chair a little maiden clings,
    And spells in silence—while the Blackbird sings.

    Sometimes the shadow of a lazy cloud
    Breathes o'er the hamlet with its gardens green.
    While the far fields with sunlight overflowed
    Like golden shores of Fairyland are seen;
    Again, the sunshine on the shadow springs,
    And fires the thicket where the Blackbird sings.

    The woods, the lawn, the peaked Manorhouse,
    With its peach-covered walls, and rookery loud,
    The trim, quaint garden alleys, screened with boughs.
    The lion-headed gates, so grim and proud,
    The mossy fountain with its murmurings,
    Lie in warm sunshine—while the Blackbird sings.

    The ring of silver voices, and the sheen
    Of festal garments—and my Lady streams
    With her gay court across the garden green;
    Some laugh, and dance, some whisper their love-dreams;
    And one calls for a little page; he strings
    Her lute beside her—while the Blackbird sings.

    A little while—and lo! the charm is heard,
    A youth, whose life has been all Summer, steals
    Forth from the noisy guests around the board,
    Creeps by her softly; at her footstool kneels;
    And, when she pauses, murmurs tender things
    Into her fond ear—while the Blackbird sings.

    The smoke-wreaths from the chimneys curl up higher,
    And dizzy things of eve begin to float
    Upon the light; the breeze begins to tire;
    Half way to sunset with a drowsy note
    The ancient clock from out the valley swings;
    The Grandam nods—and still the Blackbird sings.

    Far shouts and laughter from the farmstead peal,
    Where the great stack is piling in the sun;
    Through narrow gates o'erladen wagons reel,
    And barking curs into the tumult run;
    While the inconstant wind bears off, and brings
    The merry tempest—and the Blackbird sings.

    On the high wold the last look of the sun
    Burns, like a beacon, over dale and stream;
    The shouts have ceased, the laughter and the fun;
    The Grandam sleeps, and peaceful be her dream;
    Only a hammer on an anvil rings;
    The day is dying—still the Blackbird sings.

    Now the good Vicar passes from his gate
    Serene, with long white hair; and in his eye
    Burns the clear spirit that hath conquered Fate,
    And felt the wings of immortality;
    His heart is thronged with great imaginings,
    And tender mercies—while the Blackbird sings.

    Down by the brook he bends his steps, and through
    A lowly wicket; and at last he stands
    Awful beside the bed of one who grew
    From boyhood with him—who, with lifted hands
    And eyes, seems listening to far welcomings,
    And sweeter music than the Blackbird sings.

    Two golden stars, like tokens from the Blest,
    Strike on his dim orbs from the setting sun;
    His sinking hands seem pointing to the West;
    He smiles as though he said—"Thy will be done":
    His eyes, they see not those illuminings;
    His ears, they hear not what the Blackbird sings.

  3. The Blackbird

    by Alfred Edward Housman

    When smoke stood up from Ludlow
    And mist blew off from Teme,
    And blithe afield to ploughing
    Against the morning beam
    I strode beside my team,

    The blackbird in the coppice
    Looked out to see me stride,
    And hearkened as I whistled
    The trampling team beside,
    And fluted and replied:

    "Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
    What use to rise and rise?
    Rise man a thousand mornings
    Yet down at last he lies,
    And then the man is wise."

    I heard the tune he sang me,
    And spied his yellow bill;
    I picked a stone and aimed it
    And threw it with a will:
    Then the bird was still.

    Then my soul within me
    Took up the blackbird's strain,
    And still beside the horses
    Along the dewy lane
    It sang the song again:

    "Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
    The sun moves always west;
    The road one treads to labor
    Will lead one home to rest,
    And that will be the best."

  4. The Blackbird

    by William Barnes

    Ov all the birds upon the wing
    Between the zunny showers o' spring,-
    Vor all the lark, a-swingen high,
    Mid zing below a cloudless sky,
    An' sparrows, clust'ren roun' the bough,
    Mid chatter to the men at plough,—
    The blackbird, whisslen in among
    The boughs, do zing the gayest zong.

    Vor we do hear the blackbird zing
    His sweetest ditties in the spring,
    When nippen win's noo mwore do blow
    Vrom northern skies, wi' sleet or snow,
    But dreve light doust along between
    The leane-zide hedges, thick an' green;
    An' zoo the blackbird in among
    The boughs do zing the gayest zong.

    'Tis blithe, wi' newly-opened eyes,
    To zee the mornen's ruddy skies;
    Or, out a-haulen frith or lops
    Vrom new-pleshed hedge or new-velled copse,
    To rest at noon in primrwose beds
    Below the white-barked woak-trees' heads;
    But there's noo time, the whole day long,
    Lik' evenen wi' the blackbird's zong.

    Vor when my work is all a-done
    Avore the zetten o' the zun,
    Then blushen Jeane do walk along
    The hedge to meet me in the drong,
    An' stay till all is dim an' dark
    Bezides the ashen tree's white bark;
    An' all bezides the blackbird's shrill
    An' runnen evenen-whissle's still.

    An' there in bwoyhood I did rove
    Wi' pryen eyes along the drove
    To vind the nest the blackbird meade
    O' grass-stalks in the high bough's sheade;
    Or climb aloft, wi' clingen knees,
    Vor crows' aggs up in swayen trees,
    While frightened blackbirds down below
    Did chatter o' their little foe.
    An' zoo there's noo pleace lik' the drong,
    Where I do hear the blackbird's zong.

  5. There Were Two Blackbirds Sitting on a Hill

    by Anonymous

    There were two blackbirds sitting on a hill,
    The one named Jack, the other named Jill;
    Fly away, Jack! Fly away, Jill!
    Come again, Jack! Come again, Jill!

  6. Bobolink Poems

    A bobolink is a small New World blackbird.

  7. The Bobolink

    by John B. Tabb

    Your notes are few,
    But sweet your song
    As honey-dew;
    And all day long,
    Dear Bobolink, a-listening,
    I never tire to hear you sing.

  8. Bobolink

    by John Burroughs

    Daisies, clover, buttercup,
    Red-top, trefoil, meadowsweet,
    Ecstatic pinions, soaring up,
    Then gliding down to grassy seat.

    Sunshine, laughter, mad desires,
    May day, June day, lucid skies,
    All reckless moods that love inspires—
    The gladdest bird that sings and flies.

    Meadows, orchards, bending sprays,
    Rushes, lilies, billowy wheat,
    Song and frolic fill his days,
    A feathered rondeau all complete.

    Pink bloom, gold bloom, fleabane white,
    Dewdrop, raindrop, cooling shade,
    Bubbling throat and hovering flight,
    And jocund heart as e'er was made.

  9. The BoboLink

    by Thomas Hill

    Bobolink! that in the meadow,
    Or beneath the orchard's shadow,
    Keepest up a constant rattle
    Joyous as my children's prattle,
    Welcome to the north again!
    Welcome to mine ear thy strain,
    Welcome to mine eye the sight
    Of thy buff, thy black and white.

    Brighter plumes may greet the sun
    By the banks of Amazon;
    Sweeter tones may weave the spell
    Of enchanting Philomel;
    But the tropic bird would fail,
    And the English nightingale,
    If we should compare their worth
    With thine endless, gushing mirth.

    When the ides of May are past,
    June and Summer nearing fast,
    While from depths of blue above
    Comes the mighty breath of love.
    Calling out each bud and flower
    With resistless, secret power,
    Waking hope and fond desire,
    Kindling the erotic fire,
    Filling youths' and maidens' dreams
    With mysterious, pleasing themes;
    Then, amid the sunlight clear
    Floating in the fragrant air,
    Thou dost fill each heart with pleasure
    By thy glad ecstatic measure.

    A single note, so sweet and low,
    Like a full heart's overflow,
    Forms the prelude; but the strain
    Gives no such tone again,
    For the wild and saucy song
    Leaps and skips the notes among,
    With such quick and sportive play,
    Ne'er was madder, merrier lay.

    Gayest songster of the Spring!
    Thy melodies before me bring
    Visions of some dream-built land,
    Where, by constant zephyrs fanned,
    I might walk the livelong day,
    Embosomed in perpetual May.
    Nor care nor fear thy bosom knows;
    For thee a tempest never blows;
    But when our northern Summer's o'er,
    By Delaware's or Schuylkil's shore
    The wild rice lifts its airy head,
    And royal feasts for thee are spread.
    And when the Winter threatens there,
    Thy tireless wings yet own no fear.
    But bear thee to more southern coasts,
    Far beyond the reach of frosts.

    Bobolink! still may thy gladness
    Take from me all taint of sadness;
    Fill my soul with trust unshaken
    In that Being who has taken
    Care for every living thing,
    In Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring.

  10. The BoboLinks

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch

    When Nature had made all her birds,
    With no more cares to think on,
    She gave a rippling laugh, and out
    There flew a Bobolinkon.

    She laughed again; out flew a mate:
    A breeze of Eden bore them
    Across the fields of Paradise,
    The sunrise reddening o'er them.

    Incarnate sport and holiday,
    They flew and sang forever;
    Their souls through June were all in tune,
    Their wings were weary never.

    Their tribe, still drunk with air and light,
    And perfume of the meadow,
    Go reeling up and down the sky,
    In sunshine and in shadow.

    One springs from out the dew-wet grass;
    Another follows after;
    The morn is thrilling with their songs
    And peals of fairy laughter.

    From out the marshes and the brook,
    They set the tall reeds swinging,
    And meet, and frolic in the air,
    Half prattling and half singing.

    When morning winds sweep meadow-lands
    In green and russet billows,
    And toss the lonely elm-tree s boughs,
    And silver all the willows,

    I see you buffeting the breeze,
    Or with its motion swaying,
    Your notes half drowned against the wind,
    Or down the current playing.

    When far away o'er grassy flats,
    Where the thick wood commences,
    The white-sleeved mowers look like specks
    Beyond the zigzag fences,

    And noon is hot, and barn-roofs gleam
    White in the pale blue distance,
    I hear the saucy minstrels still
    In chattering persistence.

    When Eve her domes of opal fire
    Piles round the blue horizon,
    Or thunder rolls from hill to hill
    A Kyrie Eleison,

    Still merriest of the merry birds,
    Your sparkle is unfading;–
    Pied harlequins of June,– no end
    Of song and masquerading.

    What cadences of bubbling mirth,
    Too quick for bar and rhythm!
    What ecstasies, too full to keep
    Coherent measure with them!

    O could I share, without champagne
    Or muscatel, your frolic,
    The glad delirium of your joy,
    Your fun un-apostolic,

    Your drunken jargon through the fields,
    Your bobolinkish gabble,
    Your fine Anacreontic glee,
    Your tipsy reveller's babble!

    Nay, let me not profane such joy
    With similes of folly;
    No wine of earth could waken songs
    So delicately jolly!

    O boundless self-contentment, voiced
    In flying air-born bubbles!
    O joy that mocks our sad unrest,
    And drowns our earth-born troubles!

    Hope springs with you: I dread no more
    Despondency and dullness;
    For Good Supreme can never fail,
    That gives such perfect fullness.

    The life that floods the happy fields
    With song and light and color
    Will shape our lives to richer states,
    And heap our measures fuller.

  11. Robert of Lincoln

    by William Cullen Bryant

    Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
    Near to the nest of his little dame,
    Over the mountain side or mead,
    Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink.
    Snug and safe is that nest of ours.
    Hidden among the summer flowers.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Robert of Lincoln is gaily dressed,
    Wearing a bright black wedding coat:
    White are his shoulders, and white his crest,
    Hear him call in his merry note:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    Look what a nice new coat is mine;
    Sure, there was never a bird so fine.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife,
    Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
    Passing at home a patient life,
    Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    Brood, kind creature; you need not fear
    Thieves and robbers while I am here.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Modest and shy as a nun is she,
    One weak chirp is her only note;
    Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,
    Pouring boasts from his little throat:
    "Bobolink, Bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    Never was I afraid of man,
    Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
    Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
    There as the mother sits all day,
    Robert is singing with all his might:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    Nice good wife that never goes out,
    Keeping house while I frolic about.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Soon as the little ones chip the shell,
    Six wide mouths are open for food;
    Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
    Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    This new life is likely to be
    Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Robert of Lincoln at length is made
    Sober with work, and silent with care;
    Off is his holiday garment laid,
    Half forgotten that merry air:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    Nobody knows but my mate and I
    Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
    Chee, chee, chee."

    Summer wanes; the children are grown;
    Fun and frolic no more he knows;
    Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone;
    Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:
    "Bobolink, bobolink,
    Spink, spank, spink,
    When you can pipe that merry old strain,
    Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
    Chee, chee, chee."

  12. The O'Lincon Family

    by William Barnes

    A flock of merry singing-birds were sporting in the grove;
    Some were warbling cheerily, and some were making love:
    There were Bobolincon, Wadolincon, Winterseeble, Conquedle,—
    A livelier set was never led by tabor, pipe, or fiddle,—
    Crying, "Phew, shew, Waldolincon, see, see, Bobolincon,
    Down among the tickletops, hiding in the buttercups!
    I know a saucy chap, I see his shining cap
    Bobbing in the clover there—see, see, see!"

    Up flies Bobolincon, perching on an apple-tree,
    Startled by his rival's song, quickened by his raillery,
    Soon he spies the rogue afloat, curveting in the air,
    And merrily he turns about, and warns him to beware!
    "'Tis you that would a-wooing go, down among the rushes O!
    But wait a week, till flowers are cheery,—wait a week, and,
    ere you marry, Be sure of a house wherein to tarry!
    Wadolink, Whiskodink, Tom Denny, wait, wait, wait!"

    Every one's a funny fellow; every one's a little mellow;
    Follow, follow, follow, follow, o'er the hill and in the hollow!
    Merrily, merrily, there they hie; now they rise and now they fly;
    They cross and turn, and in and out, and down in the middle
    and wheel about,— With a "Phew, shew, Wadolincon! listen to me, Bobolincon!—
    Happy's the wooing that's speedily doing, that's speedily doing,
    That's merry and over with the bloom of the clover!
    Bobolincon, Wadolincon, Winterseeble, follow, follow, follow me!"

  13. The Red-Winged Blackbird

    by Ethelwyn Wetherald

    Black beneath as the night,
    With wings of a morning glow,
    From his sooty throat three syllables float,
    Ravishing, liquid, low;
    And 'tis oh, for the joy of June,
    And the bliss that ne'er can flee
    From that exquisite call, with its sweet, sweet fall—
    O-ke-lee, o-ke-lee, o-ke-lee!

    Long ago as a child,
    From the bough of a blossoming quince,
    That melody came to thrill my frame,
    And whenever I've caught it since,
    The spring-soft blue of the sky
    And the spring-bright bloom of the tree
    Are a part of the strain—ah, hear it again!—
    O-ke-lee, o-ke-lee, o-ke-lee!

    And the night is tenderly black,
    The morning eagerly bright,
    For that old, old spring is blossoming
    In the soul and in the sight.
    The red-winged blackbird brings
    My lost youth back to me,
    When I hear in the swale, from a gray fence rail,
    O-ke-lee, o-ke-lee, o-ke-lee!

  14. Blackbirds

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Day after day the blackbirds came
    And perched in flocks on my hickory tree,
    While the leaves, at flrst just touched with flame,
    Grew golden, then brown as brown could be,

    And still they came in a sable shower—
    A flittering, chattering, noisy crowd—
    And I wondered, watching them hour by hour,
    What they said when they talked so loud.

    Sadly the leaves fell, one by one,
    Floating, fluttering slowly down—
    Leaves so green in the summer sun,
    Now so withered, and sere, and brown.

    The tree grew bare: I watched one day
    In vain—the blackbirds came no more;
    And then I knew they had fled away,
    And my sorrowful thought this burden bore:

    The winds shall blow through my hickory-tree,
    The sifting snow, and the sleety rain:
    But, little I know what awaiteth me
    Ere the leaves and the blackbirds come again!

  15. The Red-Winged Blackbird

    by Maude Gue Goodrich

    Over where the bog is greening
    And the willow waves her bloom,
    There in bridal black quite proper
    Does he love to preen and plume;
    Breath of new green things is drifting,
    O'er the sedges with the breeze,
    Mingled with his love-song ringing,
    Voicing liquid notes like these:
    Conk-err-lee-e! Conk-err-lee-e!
    Sweetheart see, sweetheart see!
    The world was made
    For you and me!

    Dignified beside the water
    Walks he as a landed squire;
    Spreads his wings and ruffs his feathers,
    Smooths his shoulder caps of fire;
    Then the blue sky bending over,
    Or the hint of green on hill,
    Fills his lover-heart with rapture
    And again we hear him thrill:
    Conk-err-lee-e! Conk-err-lee-e!
    Sweetheart see, sweetheart see!
    The world was made
    For you and me!

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