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Oriole Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Oriole by Julian E. Johnstone
  2. The Oriole by Arlo Bates
  3. The Baltimore Bird by Alexander Wilson
  4. The Baltimore Oriole by Thomas Hill
  5. Sir Oriole by Amos Russel Wells
  6. The Oriole by Emily Dickinson
  7. The Oriole's Secret by Emily Dickinson
  8. To an Oriole by Edgar Fawcett
  9. The Song the Oriole Sings by William Dean Howells
  10. Bird Song by Laura E. Richards

Poems About Orioles

  1. The Oriole

    by Julian E. Johnstone

    A flash of light and a whir of wings,
    A gleam of gold and a blush of red,
    And adown the gloom like a star it sped;
    Adown the green and the trees atween,
    Like a feathery fire it swiftly fled,
    With an ebon back, and a golden throat,
    And a palpitant, pulsatile, passionate note,
    That out on the air like a bubble doth float
    Or a golden girl in a golden boat.

    A gorgeous creature, a globe of fire,
    A thing all splendor and love and light;
    A robin begot in the rainbow bright
    Or the western skies when the sunset dyes
    The wings of the birds that pass in flight
    Through the ruby gates, and the portals wide,
    Till tipped with vermilion, and dipped in a tide
    Of purple and gold, they glimmer and glide
    Through the sky, as bright as a bloomy bride.

    An orange-musk in the twinkling dusk;
    A topaz throbbing with golden fire;
    Sweet music shaken from Heaven's lyre,
    And turned in the night to crimson bright,
    And gold like the yellow light of a pyre,—
    A glimmering, shimmering, beautiful thing,
    With a voice like a pearl in a simmering spring,
    A diamond flitting on glittering wing,
    That ever of Heaven doth heavenly sing.

  2. The Oriole

    by Arlo Bates

    Like a live flame wind-wafted from altars celestial
    Floats the blithe oriole through the bright air;
    Dropping down as half won by spring's glories terrestrial.
    Buoyantly upward swift fleeting to fare.
    Like the light on a fount's rippling bosom that glances
    With the wavering pulse of its rhythmical flow,
    Now he rises, now falls; or, as leaf blast-tossed dances,
    In whimsical mazes he sweeps to and fro.

    In the meadows beneath him the buttercups' chalices
    Gleam, beaten gold, in the glowing June sun;
    The red clovers are fragrant as spikenard of palaces,
    Blue blooms the iris where topaz brooks run;
    But oh, what so swee,t what so fair as his singing!
    What so lucent, so mellow! Oh, oriole dear,
    Thy notes down the mist-muffled Stygian meads ringing
    Even shadowless ghosts, hope-abandoned, might cheer.

    How the fervor of being, the zest of life glorious,
    Seethes in the lay like the spirit in wine
    As it foams in the cup of some hero victorious,
    Triumphing splendid at banquets divine.
    With what gurgling delight is his song brimming over!
    With what infinite glee, like the laughter of Pan!
    As the sunshine of June, the perfume of the clover,
    The caress of the west wind commingled and ran.

    How he sings with his flight, till the song-tide out-bubbling
    Hardly less motion than melody seems;
    In ecstasy ever his passion redoubling,
    Flinging his notes as the sun flings its beams;
    Like the amber of honey from fragrant combs dripping
    Where the bees of Hymettus have made them brim o'er,
    Like the shower of gold 'round the polished limbs slipping,
    When the god unto Danaë descended of yore.

    Jocund bird, might I join in the joy that thou utterest,
    Dear would life be, as it once was of old;
    As of old might my heart leap as light as thou flutterest,
    Clovers be censers and buttercups gold.
    Like the day when love comes is the oriole's singing,
    When from fulness of bliss all the fond bosom aches;
    Oh, sweet oriole, sing! Drown the death-bell's dread ringing,
    For when love hears that clang, then the lonely heart breaks.

  3. The Baltimore Bird

    by Alexander Wilson

    High on yon poplar, clad in glossiest green,
    The orange, black-capped Baltimore is seen;
    The broad-extended boughs still please him best,
    Beneath their bending skirts he hangs his nest;
    There his sweet mate, secure from every harm,
    Broods o’er her spotted store, and wraps them warm,—

    Lists to the noon-tide hum of busy bees,
    Her partner’s mellow song, the brook, the breeze;
    These day by day the lonely hours deceive,
    From dewy morn to slow-descending eve.
    Two weeks elapsed, behold a helpless crew
    Claim all her care, and her affection too;
    On wings of love the assiduous nurses fly,—
    Flowers, leaves, and boughs, abundant food supply;
    Glad chants their guardian, as abroad he goes,
    And waving breezes rock them to repose.

  4. The Baltimore Oriole

    by Thomas Hill

    O golden robin! pipe again
    That happy, hopeful, cheering strain!

    A prisoner in my chamber, I
    See neither grass, nor bough, nor sky;
    Yet to my mind thy warblings bring,
    In troops, all images of Spring;
    And every sense is satisfied
    By what thy magic has supplied.
    As by enchantment, now I see,
    On every bush and forest-tree,
    The tender, downy leaf appear,—
    The loveliest robe they wear.

    The tulip and the hyacinth grace
    The garden bed; each grassy place,
    With dandelions glowing bright,
    Or king-cups, childhood's pure delight,
    Invite the passer-by to tread
    Upon the soft, elastic bed,
    And pluck again the simple flowers
    Which charmed so oft his younger hours.
    The apple orchards all in bloom,—
    I seem to smell their rare perfume.
    And thou, gay whistler! to whose song
    These powers of magic art belong,
    On top of lofty elm I see
    Thy black and orange livery —
    Forgive that word! A freeman bold,
    Of choice thou wearest jet and gold,
    And no man's livery dost bear,
    Thou flying tulip! free as air!

    Come, golden robin! once again
    That magic, joy-inspiring strain!

  5. Sir Oriole

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "This is a merry world,
    Truly a jolly world"—
    So sings the oriole.

    He is a winged flame,
    He bears a lighted breast,
    Sunshine incarnated.

    His is a swinging song,
    His is a swinging nest,
    His is a swinging flight.

    Ever a-tilt is he,
    Tilting at gloominess,
    Happy Sir Oriole!

  6. The Oriole

    by Emily Dickinson

    One of the ones that Midas touched,
    Who failed to touch us all,
    Was that confiding prodigal,
    The blissful oriole.

    So drunk, he disavows it
    With badinage divine;
    So dazzling, we mistake him
    For an alighting mine.

    A pleader, a dissembler,
    An epicure, a thief, —
    Betimes an oratorio,
    An ecstasy in chief;

    The Jesuit of orchards,
    He cheats as he enchants
    Of an entire attar
    For his decamping wants.

    The splendor of a Burmah,
    The meteor of birds,
    Departing like a pageant
    Of ballads and of bards.

    I never thought that Jason sought
    For any golden fleece;
    But then I am a rural man,
    With thoughts that make for peace.

    But if there were a Jason,
    Tradition suffer me
    Behold his lost emolument
    Upon the apple-tree.

  7. The Oriole's Secret

    by Emily Dickinson

    To hear an oriole sing
    May be a common thing,
    Or only a divine.

    It is not of the bird
    Who sings the same, unheard,
    As unto crowd.

    The fashion of the ear
    Attireth that it hear
    In dun or fair.

    So whether it be rune,
    Or whether it be none,
    Is of within;

    The "tune is in the tree,"
    The sceptic showeth me;
    "No, sir! In thee!"

  8. To an Oriole

    by Edgar Fawcett

    How falls it, oriole, thou hast come to fly
    In tropic splendor through our Northern sky?

    At some glad moment was it nature's choice
    To dower a scrap of sunset with a voice?

    At some glad moment was it nature's choice
    To dower a scrap of sunset with a voice?

    Yearning toward Heaven until its wish was heard,
    Desire unspeakably to be a bird?

  9. The Song the Oriole Sings

    by William Dean Howells

    There is a bird that comes and sings
    In a professor's garden-trees;
    Upon the English oak he swings,
    And tilts and tosses in the breeze.

    I know his name, I know his note,
    That so with rapture takes my soul;
    Like flame the gold beneath his throat,
    His glossy cope is black as coal.

    O oriole, it is the song
    You sang me from the cottonwood,
    Too young to feel that I was young,
    Too glad to guess if life were good.

    And while I hark, before my door,
    Adown the dusty Concord Road,
    The blue Miami flows once more
    As by the cottonwood it flowed.

    And on the bank that rises steep,
    And pours a thousand tiny rills,
    From death and absence laugh and leap
    My school-mates to their flutter-mills.

    The blackbirds jangle in the tops
    Of hoary-antlered sycamores;
    The timorous killdee starts and stops
    Among the drift-wood on the shores.

    Below, the bridge—a noonday fear
    Of dust and shadow shot with sun—
    Stretches its gloom from pier to pier,
    Far unto alien coasts unknown.

    And on these alien coasts, above,
    Where silver ripples break the stream's
    Long blue, from some roof-sheltering grove
    A hidden parrot scolds and screams.

    Ah, nothing, nothing! Commonest things:
    A touch, a glimpse, a sound, a breath—
    It is a song the oriole sings—
    And all the rest belongs to death.

    But oriole, my oriole,
    Were some bright seraph sent from bliss
    With songs of heaven to win my soul
    From simple memories such as this,

    What could he tell to tempt my ear
    From you? What high thing could there be,
    So tenderly and sweetly dear
    As my lost boyhood is to me?

  10. Bird Song

    by Laura E. Richards

    The robin sings of willow-buds,
    Of snowflakes on the green;
    The bluebird sings of Mayflowers,
    The crackling leaves between;
    The veery has a thousand tales
    To tell to girl and boy;
    But the oriole, the oriole,
    Sings, "Joy! joy! joy!"

    The pewee calls his little mate,
    Sweet Phoebe, gone astray,
    The warbler sings, "What fun, what fun,
    To tilt upon the spray!"
    The cuckoo has no song, but clucks,
    Like any wooden toy;
    But the oriole, the oriole,
    Sings, "Joy! joy! joy!"

    The grosbeak sings the rose's birth,
    And paints her on his breast;
    The sparrow sings of speckled eggs,
    Soft brooded in the nest.
    The wood-thrush sings of peace, "Sweet peace,
    Sweet peace," without alloy;
    But the oriole, the oriole,
    Sings "Joy! joy! joy!"