Under the alders, along the brooks,
Under the hemlocks, along the hill,
Spreading their plumage with furtive looks,
Daintily pecking the leaves at will;
Whir! and they flit from the startled sight, —
And the forest is silent, the air is still.
Crushing the leaves 'neath our careless feet,
Snapping the twigs with a heavy tread,
Dreamy October is late and sweet,
And stooping we gather a blossom dead;
Boom! and our heart has a thunderous beat
As the gray apparition flits overhead.
Up from the path with a thunderous roar
That startles the dreamer amid his dreams,
Till he peers into vistas that open before
For the flash of the plumage with silver gleams:
Why, modest brown hermit, thus fearful of him
Who would share in the secrets of forest and streams?
I lie on windows of leaves and gaze
At thy innocent preening of serrate wing,
Or watch where the last crimson colors blaze,
And the red autumn leaves to the maple cling, —
Too fond of this life myself, to destroy
The motion and life I am worshiping.