My townspeople, beyond in the great world, are many with whom it were far more profitable for me to live than here with you. These whirr about me calling, calling! and for my own part I answer them, loud as I can, but they, being free, pass! I remain! Therefore, listen! For you will not soon have another singer. First I say this: you have seen the strange birds, have you not, that sometimes rest upon our river in winter? Let them cause you to think well then of the storms that drive many to shelter. These things do not happen without reason. And the next thing I say is this: I saw an eagle once circling against the clouds over one of our principal churches— Easter, it was—a beautiful day! three gulls came from above the river and crossed slowly seaward! Oh, I know you have your own hymns, I have heard them— and because I knew they invoked some great protector I could not be angry with you, no matter how much they outraged true music— You see, it is not necessary for us to leap at each other, and, as I told you, in the end the gulls moved seaward very quietly.
This poem is in the public domain.