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Emmanuel George Cefai

(12th March 1955 / Victoria, Gozo)

A Widow Bird


I

A widow bird stood mourning for her mate
And to the leaden skies poured her distress
Silent stood the vale and the echoing sound
In piteous accents the grieving bird caressed
While a still silver stream encircled round
And gurgled its accents unknown with piteous sound.

II

The widow bird the haunting air did hear
And thus the widow bird she spoke:
‘Where from my friend, did you last hear
The call of my bird love that days ago
With me in the nest did lie and with our young? ’

III

To which the air replied to the widowed heart:
‘Long many a day ago heard I the notes
Of your bird love over a distant hill
Ringing before the red dusk fell and night
With its dark mantle covered the tired earth.’

IV

And then the widowed bird disconsolate
Asked the crystal spring that passed by
And said the crystal spring: ‘ My friend
Myself I cannot tell and no news heard.
But my elder sister the sea-wave tells me
That they saw feathers floating on the sea’.

V

At which the widow-bird more disconsolate
Asked the grey rocks that looked upon the sea
And by the night the swishing waves were heard
Kissing and lapping at their granite base:
‘Alas! Alas! .’ The granite rocks bespake
‘We saw a bird, a distant bird that flew
Fall sudden down into the ocean-sea’.
At which a tear rolled in each eye
Of the widow-bird

VI

And sat disconsolate the widow-bird and pined
Pined in the night stars and the azure dome
Of heaven pitying on her pining too;
She knew not day or night or heat or frost
And sicklier grew with every hour passed:
Till the day came when she in the nest lay
And could not fly to feed her chirping band.

VII

Till to autumn a harsher grey did follow:
The cooling breeze to frosty northern wind
Did turn and the cruel rains set in:
Winter had come.

VIII

And then sickness to pining added misery
And then her sweet birds chirped with pain
And leant their heads and more and more
Their eyes did close
And the white snows did come and frost
Bit with harsh whip the lips and nose:
And in the night the cruel rains did fall
And in the moon’s light the lake froze.

IX

And pined the widow-bird and her offspring
Till their eyes closed
And the white snows did come and frost
And in the night the cruel rains did fall
And in the moon’s light the lake froze.

Submitted: Friday, October 14, 2011
Edited: Friday, October 14, 2011

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Comments about this poem (A Widow Bird by Emmanuel George Cefai )

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  • Raymond Uyok (10/14/2011 7:21:00 AM)

    This is so touching and so picturesque; I admire your imagimation. Pls comment on my works. (Report) Reply

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