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Goose Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Goose Explains by Amos Russel Wells
  2. Wild Geese by Frederick Peterson
  3. Wild Geese by Celia Thaxter
  4. The Passing of the Wild Geese by Richard Hoe Barrows
  5. The Flight of the Geese by Charles G.D. Roberts
  6. Flight of the Wild Geese by William Ellery Channing
  7. The Flight of the Canada Geese by Isaac McLellan
  8. To a Flock of Geese by Clark McAdams

  1. The Goose Explains

    by Amos Russel Wells

    It was a goose who sadly cried,
    "Alas! Alas! The farm is wide,
    And large the barnyard company,
    But no one ever looks at me;
    There really seems to be no use,
    Or praise, or glory, for a goose.

    They pet the dog whose bark and bite
    Scare tramps by day and thieves by night;
    But when I bravely stand on guard,
    And drive intruders from the yard,
    They laugh at me. The kitten plays,
    And all admire her cunning ways;
    But when I venture in the room,
    To play, in turn, some stick or broom
    Soon drives me out. Those birds they call
    Canaries cannot sing at all
    In my sweet fashion; yet their lay
    Is praised—from mine folks turn away.
    They prize the horse who pulls the cart;
    But when I try to do my part,
    And mount the shafts to help him draw,
    They whip me off. Last week I saw
    Two stupid horses pull a plow,
    I watched the work, I learned just how;
    Then, with my bill, I did the same
    In flower-beds, and got only blame.
    It really seems of little use
    To try to help—when one's a goose!"

  2. Wild Geese

    Frederick Peterson

    How oft against the sunset sky or moon
    I watched that moving zigzag of spread wings
    In unforgotten Autumns gone too soon,
    In unforgotten Springs!
    Creatures of desolation, far they fly
    Above all lands bound by the curling foam;

    In misty lens, wild moors and trackless sky
    These wild things have their home.
    They know the tundra of Siberian coasts.
    And tropic marshes by the Indian seas;
    They know the clouds and night and starry hosts
    From Crux to Pleiades.
    Dark flying rune against the western glow—
    It tells the sweep and loneliness of things,
    Symbol of Autumns vanished long ago.
    Symbol of coming Springs!

  3. Wild Geese

    by Celia Thaxter

    A far, strange sound through the night
    A dauntless and resolute cry,
    Clear in the tempest's despite,
    Ringing so wild and so high.

    Darkness and tumult and dread,
    Rain and the battling of gales,
    Yet cleaving the storm overhead,
    The wedge of the wild geese sails.

    Pushing their perilous way,
    Buffeted, beaten, and vexed;
    Steadfast by night and by day,
    Weary, but never perplexed;

    Sure that the land of their hope
    Waits beyond tempest and dread,
    Sure that the dark where they grope
    Shall glow with the morning red!

    Clangor that pierces the storm
    Dropped from the gloom of the sky!
    I sit by my hearth-fire warm
    And thrill to that purposeful cry.

    Strong as a challenge sent out,
    Rousing the timorous heart
    To battle with fear and with doubt,
    Courageously bearing its part.

    O birds in the wild, wild sky!
    Would I could so follow God's way
    Through darkness, unquestioning why,
    With only one thought — to obey!

  4. The Passing of the Wild Geese

    by Richard Hoe Barrows

    Ye white-winged prophets of the coming spring,
    With trumpet tones ye make the welkin ring.
    Thrice glad ye make us with your wild hosannas,
    Winging your way from sunny, green savannas.
    We watch and see your light forms disappear
    Far in the blue, transparent atmosphere,
    While echoes in our breast your glad refrain,
    And faith grows quick that spring will come again.

  5. Flight of the Wild Geese

    by William Ellery Channing

    Rambling along the marshes,
    On the bank of the Assabet,
    Sounding myself as to how it went,
    Praying that I might not forget,
    And all uncertain
    Whether I was in the right,
    Toiling to lift Time’s curtain,
    And if I burnt the strongest light;
    Suddenly,
    High in the air,
    I heard the travelled geese
    Their overture prepare.

    Stirred above the patent ball,
    The wild geese flew,
    Nor near so wild as that doth me befall,
    Or, swollen Wisdom, you.

    In the front there fetched a leader,
    Him behind the line spread out,
    And waved about,
    As it was near night,
    When these air-pilots stop their flight.

    Cruising off the shoal dominion
    Where we sit,
    Depending not on their opinion,
    Nor hiving sops of wit;
    Geographical in tact,
    Naming not a pond or river,
    Pulled with twilight down in fact,
    In the reeds to quack and quiver,
    There they go,
    Spectators at the play below,
    Southward in a row.

    Cannot land and map the stars
    The indifferent geese,
    Nor taste the sweetmeats in odd jars,
    Nor speculate and freeze;
    Rancid weasands need be well,
    Feathers glossy, quills in order,
    Starts this train, yet rings no bell;
    Steam is raised without recorder.

    “Up, my feathered fowl, all,” —
    Saith the goose commander,
    “Brighten your bills, and flirt your pinions,
    My toes are nipped,—let us render
    Ourselves in soft Guatemala,
    Or suck puddles in Campeachy,
    Spitzbergen-cake cuts very frosty,
    And the tipple is not leechy.

    “Let’s brush loose for any creek,
    There lurk fish and fly,
    Condiments to fat the weak,
    Inundate the pie.
    Flutter not about a place,
    Ye concomitants of space!”

    Mute the listening nations stand
    On that dark receding land;
    How faint their villages and towns,
    Scattered on the misty downs!
    A meeting-house
    Appears no bigger than a mouse.

    How long?
    Never is a question asked,
    While a throat can lift the song,
    Or a flapping wing be tasked.

    All the grandmothers about
    Hear the orators of Heaven,
    Then put on their woollens stout,
    And cower o’er the hearth at even;
    And the children stare at the sky,
    And laugh to see the long black line so high!

    Then once more I heard them say, —
    “’Tis a smooth, delightful road,
    Difficult to lose the way,
    And a trifle for a load.

    “’Twas our forte to pass for this,
    Proper sack of sense to borrow,
    Wings and legs, and bills that clatter,
    And the horizon of To-morrow.”

  6. The Flight of the Geese

    by Charles G. D. Roberts

    I hear the low wind wash the softening snow,
    The low tide loiter down the shore. The night,
    Full filled with April forecast, hath no light.
    The salt wave on the sedge-flat pulses slow.
    Through the hid furrows lisp in murmurous flow
    The thaw’s shy ministers; and hark! The height
    Of heaven grows weird and loud with unseen flight
    Of strong hosts prophesying as they go!

    High through the drenched and hollow night their wings
    Beat northward hard on winter’s trail. The sound
    Of their confused and solemn voices, borne
    Athwart the dark to their long arctic morn,
    Comes with a sanction and an awe profound,
    A boding of unknown, foreshadowed things.

  7. The Flight of the Canada Geese

    by Isaac McLellan

    Honk! honk! on stormy wings they cleave the upper air,
    On gusty breeze, above the seas, their onward cohorts fare;
    They come from frosty solitudes, where broods the Arctic night,
    Where deserts grim, spread vast and dim, in the auroral light.
    The Esquimaux, with bended bow, fast paddling his canoe,
    Their flocks hath chas'd o'er icy waste of waters heavenly blue;

    On frozen shore of Labrador the Indian's steel hath sped,
    But vain the shaft, and vain the craft, and vain the fowler's lead.
    In twinkling gleam of cold moonbeam, their dusky files I trace,
    In wedge-like throng, in column long, they speed the tireless race;
    O'er craggy mountain-sides, and over torrent tides,
    The shadow of each column, in swift procession glides.
    O'er the far-resounding surge, in the dim horizon's verge,
    I see their dark battalions on winnowing pinions urge;
    O'er Lake Superior's sheet their clanging pinions beat,
    Where Western plain and golden grain spread sumptuous pastures sweet.
    The bleak November cloud casts down its snowy shroud,
    And the throbbings and the sobbings of the winds are swelling loud;
    The snowdrift hides the grass, and the lakes are crystal glass,
    So warn'd, the geese-flock legions to gentler regions pass, —
    To the balmy Southern clime, where the orange and the lime,
    With blossom'd fruits, perennial shoots, are ever in their prime;
    To paradise ambrosial, to banks of spic'd perfume,
    Where forests wide and river-side are prodigal with bloom.

  8. To a Flock of Geese

    by Clark McAdams

    Ye wild, free troopers of the skies
    That ride in wedged ranks the blue
    And unmarked roads of Paradise,
    Who else but God had tutored you
    That wind beset and tempest form
    To buffet you with mighty sledge,
    Ye still sweep onward through the storm
    With that unbroken wedge?

    Thrill me again, ye serried host,
    With that shrill challenge which defies
    The strength of whatsoever post
    Is set to guard the bending skies
    Against such rangers as ye are
    That dare with swift and rhythmic wings
    The night unlighted of a star
    To guide God's feathered things.

    Ye are the joy of being wild,
    The sign and symbol of a blest
    Estate so sweet and undented
    It breathes its spirit undistressed
    Adown the heights to which have soared
    Since Eden was our deepest sighs—
    Thrill me again, ye clamant horde,
    With your wild-ringing cries.