Soft-littered is the new-year’s lambing fold,
And in the hollowed haystack at its side
The shepherd lies o’ night now, wakeful-eyed
At the ewes’ travailing call through the dark cold.
The young rooks cheep ‘mid the thick caw o’ the old:
And near unpeopled stream-sides, on the ground,
By her Spring cry the moorhen’s nest is found,
Where the drained flood-lands flaunt their marigold.
Chill are the gusts to which the pastures cower,
And chill the current where the young reeds stand
As green and close as the young wheat on land
Yet here the cuckoo and cuckoo-flower
Plight to the heart Spring’s perfect imminent hour
Whose breath shall soothe you like your dear one’s hand.