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Jackdaw

Padraic Colum 1881 (County Longford) – 1972 (Enfield)

ALOOF from his tribe
On the elm-tree's top,
A jackdaw perched
A hand-reach up.

Silent he sat
On the branch, nor stirred,
And I saw m him
A changeling bird.

Grass was worn
Round pots and a pan,
A flea-bitten horse,
And a tilted van,

Where tinker's or gypsy's
Brats at play
Made vagrant's game of
Some citizen's way.

I watched the daw
On the branch, beguiled:
I saw a vagrant
From the wild.

The entail broken
What had he?
The humour of one
Out of his degree.

The franchise of one
Without kith or kind,
And only the pauper's
Single mind!

The daws on the elms
Kept tribal speech,
And he perched there,
Within a hand's reach-

He flew; his flight
Neither high nor wide
Was a vagabond's
To a seedman's stride.

A dog on the ground
Was rubbing for fleas;
Rags were there
He fluttered to these:

Held a bright rag up
Like a banner won,
And went and hid it
Behind a stone!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

53 sec read
141 Views

Padraic Colum

Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer, playwright, children's author and collector of folklore. more…

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