The Heart of the Woods


I HEAR it beat in morning still
When April skies have lost their gloom,
And through the woods there runs a thrill
That wakes arbutus into bloom.
I hear it throb in sprouting May, —
A muffled murmur on the breeze,
Like mellow thunder leagues away,
Or booming voice of distant seas.
In daisied June I catch its roll,
Pulsing through the leafy shade ;
And fain I am to reach its goal,
And see the drummer unafraid.
Or when the autumn leaves are shed,
And frosts attend the fading year,
Like secret mine sprung by my tread
A covey bursts from hiding near.
I feel its pulse ’mid winter snows,
And feel my own with added force,
When red-ruff drops his cautious pose,
And forward takes his humming course.
The startled birches shake their curls,
A withered leaf leaps in the breeze ;
Some hidden mortar speaks, and hurls
Its feathered missile through the trees.
Compact of life, of fervent wing,
A dynamo of feathered power,
Thy drum is music in the spring,
Thy flight is music every hour.
John Burroughs.