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Grey Gull Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 0

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'Twas on an iron, icy day

I saw a pirate gull down-plane,

And hover in a wistful way

Nigh where my chickens picked their grain.

An outcast gull, so grey and old,

Withered of leg I watched it hop,

By hunger goaded and by cold,

To where each fowl full-filled its crop.

They hospitably welcomed it,

And at the food rack gave it place;

It ate and ate, it preened a bit,

By way way of gratitude and grace.

It parleyed with my  barnyard cock,

Then resolutely winged away;

But I am fey in feather talk,

And this is what I heard it say:

"I know that you and all your tribe

Are shielded warm and fenced from fear;

With food and comfort you would bribe

My weary wings to linger here.

An outlaw scarred and leather-lean,

I battle with the winds of woe:

You think me scaly and unclean...

And yet my soul you do not know,

"I storm the golden gates of day,

I wing the silver lanes of night;

I plumb the deep for finny prey,

On wave I sleep in tempest height.

Conceived was I by sea and sky,

Their elements are fused in me;

Of brigand birds that float and fly

I am the freest of the free.

"From peak to plain, from palm to pine

I coast creation at my will;

The chartless solitudes are mine,

And no one seeks to do me ill.

Until some cauldron of the sea

Shall gulp for me and I shall cease...

Oh I have lived enormously

And I shall have prodigious peace."

With yellow bill and beady eye

This spoke, I think, that old grey gull;

And as I watched it Southward fly

Life seemed to be a-sudden dull.

For I have often held this thought -

If I could change this mouldy me,

By heaven! I would choose the lot,

Of all the gypsy birds, to be

A gull that spans the spacious sea.


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