Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
The Whippoorwill
By Joel Benton (1832–1911)
 
IN the summer nights, when the world’s tumult stills,
I hear at the wood’s edge the whippoorwill’s
Quaint, plaintive-phrased, monotonous refrain,
Flooding with pathos vale and dell and plain.
 
Silent until the setting of the sun,        5
He sings when the day’s choristry is done,
With palpitant burst of rhythm and iterant rhyme
Rich with the redolent grace of summer-time.
 
Shy recluse of the woods and shaded streams,
Recaller of our life’s youth-haloed dreams,        10
Brown portent that securely baffles sight,
Sacred to Wonder and Mysterious Night.
 
How alien to the din of city streets
Are all thy notes and twilight-kissed retreats!
That song of rapture, weird yet exquisite,        15
Who shall explain—who try to fathom it?
 
It tells of bosky haunts and fields of peace,
Of dew-wet meadows, and the day’s surcease;
Of happy homes beyond that fast-closed door
Entombing childhood which returns no more.        20
 
 
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