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The Songster
E. Pauline Johnson


Music, music with throb and swing,
  Of a plaintive note, and long;
'Tis a note no human throat could sing,
No harp with its dulcet golden string,–
Nor lute, nor lyre with liquid ring,
  Is sweet as the robin's song.

He sings for love of the season
  When the days grow warm and long,
For the beautiful God-sent reason
  That his breast was born for song.

Calling, calling so fresh and clear,
  Through the song-sweet days of May;
Warbling there, and whistling here,
He swells his voice on the drinking ear,
On the great, wide, pulsing atmosphere
  Till his music drowns the day.

He sings for love of the season
  When the days grow warm and long,
For the beautiful God-sent reason
  That his breast was born for song.

This poem is in the public domain.



E. Pauline Johnson (1861 - 1913) was one of Canada's most popular and successful entertainers at the turn of the 20th century. The daughter of a Mohawk Native-Canadian father and an English mother, Pauline Johnson--at the age of 31--when her society expected her to marry and have children, adopted the name "Tekahionwake," created a Mohawk costume, and began touring Canada giving popular recitals of her poetry, comedy routines and plays. She was the first Native poet to have her work published in Canada, and was one of the few female writers at the time who could make an independent living from what she wrote and performed.


Post New Comment:
An oldie and a goodie. Robins are perhaps the most common bird where I've lived in Wisconsin and Illinois, so I;m asonished that some of you don't know a robin song immediately. I love the author's career, as described here.
Posted 05/20/2019 03:36 PM
Nice poem and interesting to read about the poet. Thank you for the link to sounds of the robin, Now I�ll be able to identify when I hear those familiar sounds in my yard.
Posted 05/20/2019 10:32 AM
Beautiful poem. I love the old ones. Timeless!!
Posted 05/20/2019 08:06 AM
michael escoubas:
Thank you, Jayne, for letting this songbird out of her cage; and thank you for the bird-call resource too.
Posted 05/20/2019 07:57 AM
Larry Schug:
Indeed, 'tis the season of bird song!
Posted 05/20/2019 06:53 AM

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