Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
23. The Falconer of God
By William Rose Benét
I FLUNG my soul to the air like a falcon flying.
I said, “Wait on, wait on, while I ride below!
      I shall start a heron soon
      In the marsh beneath the moon—
A strange white heron rising with silver on its wings,        5
          Rising and crying
        Wordless, wondrous things;
      The secret of the stars, of the world’s heart-strings
        The answer to their woe.
Then stoop thou upon him, and grip and hold him so!”        10
My wild soul waited on as falcons hover.
I beat the reedy fens as I trampled put.
      I heard the mournful loon
      In the marsh beneath the moon.
And then, with feathery thunder, the bird of my desire        15
          Broke from the cover
        Flashing silver fire.
      High up among the stars I saw his pinions spire.
          The pale clouds gazed aghast
As my falcon stooped upon him, and gript and held him fast.        20
My soul dropped through the air—with heavenly plunder?—
Gripping the dazzling bird my dreaming knew?
      Nay! but a piteous freight,
      A dark and heavy weight
Despoiled of silver plumage, its voice forever stilled—        25
          All of the wonder
        Gone that ever filled
      Its guise with glory. O bird that I have killed,
        How brilliantly you flew
Across my rapturous vision when first I dreamed of you!        30
Yet I fling my soul on high with new endeavor,
And I ride the world below with a joyful mind.
      I shall start a heron soon
      In the marsh beneath the moon—
A wondrous silver heron its inner darkness fledges!        35
          I beat forever
        The fens and the sedges.
      The pledge is still the same—for all disastrous pledges,
          All hopes resigned!
My soul still flies above me for the quarry it shall find!        40


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