Thus, on a recent afternoon, as I strolled in a daydream, I suddenly awoke to the sound of birdsong from all quarters of the earth and sky. An unrehearsed chorus of anonymous and solitary singers in a green and blue World, each of them singular and irreplaceable.
The notes they sang were "synonyms for joy," certainly. But, coming from everywhere, in all their variations, unceasing yet uninsistent, the notes were something else as well. Later that evening, this came to mind: "One feels the life of that which gives life as it is."
I walked a nut-wood's gloom. And overhead
A pigeon's wing beat on the hidden boughs,
And shrews upon shy tunnelling woke thin
Late winter leaves with trickling sound. Across
My narrow path I saw the carrier ants
Burdened with little pieces of bright straw.
These things I heard and saw, with senses fine
For all the little traffic of the wood,
While everywhere, above me, underfoot,
And haunting every avenue of leaves,
Was mystery, unresting, taciturn.
. . . . .
And haunting the lucidities of life
That are my daily beauty, moves a theme,
Beating along my undiscovered mind.
John Drinkwater, Loyalties (Sidgwick & Jackson 1919). The ellipses appear in the original.
Alfred Thornton (1863-1939)
"Hill Farm, Painswick, Gloucestershire"
"One feels the life of that which gives life as it is." After I returned home from my walk, I noticed birds singing in the back garden. They sang until the last pale light in the sky faded away.
All the long day --
Yet not long enough for the skylark,
Bashō (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 195.
Alfred Thornton, "The Upper Severn"