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Vulture Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Vulture by Harry Stillwell Edwards
  2. The Black Vulture by George Sterling
  3. To a Buzzard Swinging in Silence by Marjory Stoneman Douglas

  1. The Vulture

    by Harry Stillwell Edwards

    All day long we roam, we roam,
    My shadow fleet and I;
    One searches all the land and sea,
    And one the trackless sky;
    But when the taint of death ascends
    My airy flight to greet,
    As friends around the festal board,
    We meet! we meet! we meet!

    Ah! none can read the signs we read,
    No eye can fathom the gales,
    No tongue can whisper our secret deed,
    For dead men tell no tales.
    The spot on the plains is miles away;
    But our wings are broad and fleet, —
    The wave-tossed speck in the eye of the day
    Is far — but we meet! we meet!

    The voice of the battle is haste, oh, haste!
    And down the wind we speed;
    The voice of the wreck moans up from the deep,
    And we search the rank seaweed.
    The maiden listens the livelong day
    For the fall of her lover's feet;
    She wonders to see us speeding by, —
    She would die if she saw us meet!

    Sweeping in circles, my shadow and I,
    I Leaving no mark on the land or sky,
    When the double circles are all complete,
    At the bedside of death we meet! we meet!

  2. The Black Vulture

    by George Sterling

    Aloof within the day's enormous dome,
    He holds unshared the silence of the sky.
    Far down his bleak, relentless eyes descry
    The eagle's empire and the falcon's home—
    Far down, the galleons of sunset roam;
    His hazards on the sea of morning lie;
    Serene, he hears the broken tempest sigh
    Where cold sierras gleam like scattered foam.
    And least of all he holds the human swarm—
    Unwitting now that envious men prepare
    To make their dream and its fulfillment one
    When, poised above the caldrons of the storm,
    Their hearts, contemptuous of death, shall dare
    His roads between the thunder and the sun.

  3. To a Buzzard Swinging in Silence

    by Marjory Stoneman Douglas

    I never knew how fair a thing
    Was freedom, till I saw you swing,
    Ragged, exultant, black and high
    Against a hollow, windy sky.
    You that with such a horrid gait,
    Lumbers and flops with red, raw pate.
    I never knew how beauty grew
    From ugliness until you flew
    With soaring, somber, steady beat
    Of wings, rough-edged to grip the fleet
    Far-coursing horses of the sky,
    To ride, to ride them gloriously.
    Oh, brother buzzard, you whose sin
    On earth is to be shackled in
    To horror, teach me how to go
    Like you, to beauty, sure and slow;
    Like you, to slip such carrion ties
    And lift and lift to high clean skies,
    Where winds and sun and silence ride,
    Like you, oh, buzzard, glorified.

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