Ammon Wrigley - "The Song Thrush near a Town"

The following is a transcription of a work by Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946).

The Song Thrush near a Town

I heard a song thrush near the town,
Speckled breast and wings of brown,
Singing strangely out of place,
In a dusty garden space.
And I wondered as I heard
Why the sunny-throated bird
Had come down from God’s good land
To a place where song is banned—
Save the jarring song of toil,
Din of wheels and smell of oil.
From some leafy beechen copse,
To the smoky chimney tops,
From some green and flowered height,
To high mill walls dark as night.
From a sun warm pasture sweet,
To a drab and noisy street;
And I thought that thou wert born,
In a blossomed hedgerow thorn.
Up a rambling country lane,
On a day of springtime rain;
And maybe thy brothers still,
Are in song on Wharmton hill.
Or far up in wooded clough,
Piping to the moorlands rough;
Or upon some grassy lea,
Hopping with no care for thee;
But thou wayward bird of song,
Singing where the houses throng,
Caring naught for quiet glen,
Loveth best the haunts of men.
Never song more wild or free,
Ever shook a morning tree;
Light and colour all a-whirl,
Hues of sunset tints-of pearl;
Here and there a snatch of lay,
Like a windy dawn in May.
Now and then a wisp of tune,
Splashed with roses red in June.
Then an oft repeated trill,
Rippling waters down a hill;
Then a note so sadly sweet,
That it staightway led my feet
Down the old remembered ways,
Through the fields of other days.
And I saw dear memries rise
Trembling with their love wet eyes;
Ever to my soul they speak,
Through my heart play hide and seek.
And in laughter and in tears,
They unroll the film of years;
Days of sunshine days of rain,
All come back to me again.
All I am and all I’ve known,
Little gold and much of stone.
The roaring noises wake the town,
Bird and scene song whither flown.
Never, lord of mellow throats,
May the dust cling to thy notes;
Never care or weary toil
Come near thee to mar and spoil;
Sing for ever, song is thine,
Nor heed this foolish song of mine.

Ammon Wrigley - "The Song Thrush near a Town"


This page was last modified on 16 August 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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