As a new year dawns

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I dreamed the sky was full of birds Birds upflown from blackened boughs And they did fly as I'd not known any birds before to mount. Swallow and sparrow, wren and thrush Lark and finch and nightingale In one great swell of soundless flight Still anchored (I thought at first) to this Fixed curve of Earth, our habitat Until - with backbone stiffed to ice - I saw from where I stared straight up How all, without pause, were on a course So steep, so pitched to utmost-gone That suddenly I heard my own voice cry ``O World, look! What have we done?'' For all our birds were flying away From us. From us. At dawn I awoke. And the first thing heard (Through balcony doors left ajar) Was a three-note call, repeated thrice: So pure, so sweet, that it might have come From some pre-Eden state wherein No fateful fruit from a tree had hung No hoax been played, no curse unleashed To go on and on, through drawn-out time Recharging itself with each next myth Cunningly voiced by the same forked tongue. Three simple notes. That was all. But thrice rung out, so daybreak clear That straightway my whole heart lept as if Equally summoned to proclaim aloud ``O we're not so easily frightened away! We birds! We singing-birds put here!''

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