Scottish Poetry Selection
- My Morning Walk

This poem conjures up the picture of Walter Wingate heading across the fields on a May morning to catch his train to his job as a school teacher. The sights and sounds awaken the joy of living. Perhaps he penned these words on the journey?

    My Morning Walk

'Tis not to know my old delight
To startle redshank into flight,
   Or watch the curlew wading ;
Or dipping from the cloven hill,
Be stream-companioned down the gill
   With musical cascading.

For this is but the fourth of May,
And August ease is far away
   And long-desired vacation;
But forth I fare, in shine or rain,
To meet my faithful railway train,
   My rendezvous the station.

A mile across a homely strath,
I trudge an old and beaten path,
   Familiar every feature,
Where labour dons the daily yoke,
And grimy chimneys stand and smoke,
   Insulting Mother Nature.

Yet even here the breath of May
Has stirred a world of hopes to-day,
   Of summer joys hereafter.
Between me and the climbing sun,
The grasses twinkle one by one
   In beaded rainbow-laughter.

The lark that first arose to sing
Has fall'n and folded song and wing,
   Upon his nest descending:
A second, soaring far and high,
Relieves his station in the sky,
   In fugue on fugue unending.

A yorlin sings above my head:
To left, along the rhubarb-bed,
   A shining crow is rooting:
To right, from yonder distant tree,
A thrush I hear, but cannot see,
   In fragmentary fluting.

And over there beyond the bridge,
Against the shadowy Dechmont ridge,
   The steepled kirk is dreaming:
And softly veiled in pearly greys,
Arise the streets above the haze,
   And every roof is gleaming.

But none of these, nor all of these,
Howe'er my ear and eye they please,
   Howe'er they woo and win me,
Explain the blind emotions stirred,
And shared with every flower and bird,
   And moving now within me,

The ancient instinct of the spring,
That sets the sloe a-blossoming,
   The missel-thrush a-wiving;
And makes the dreamer lift his head,
And stride along with swinging tread,
   And thank the Lord he's living.

Meaning of unusual words:
yorlin=yellow hammer

Return to the Index of Walter Wingate Poems or the General Index of Scottish Poetry

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