Dawn Chorus

for Pascal

We would arrive hours after it was over:
Past the gate and through the wooden door
We stepped into the walled garden, a demesne of dream and dew
No one dared disturb until, shouldering a spade and striding out, he burst into song:

In repetition of what had gone before
He sang to mark the passing of the night,
The light of day that shone on unperturbed on dream and dew and us
Digging, weeding, seed-collecting for trees that would take root after we were gone.

Dispersed, we wake each morning without a song to stir us into life:
May God or Nature give that we too learn how to sing
In the early hours, at the first sight of light.

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