There’s whimpering around twilight
And noisy sobs throughout the night.
It flees at sunrise like a veil
Of mist descending in a dale.
But when the shepherd naps by day
He hears soft cries not far away
So deeply, weakly through the still
As if from someone deadly ill.
A restless soul soon out of sight,
It fades like dew come morning light,
A soul that finds no peace, that sighs
And sings and sings its lullabies.
When life deserts the bare, bleak fen
And woods shed all their leaves again
She, too, leaves with the autumn wild—
A pale lass, in her arms her child.
At Dove Heath there is swampy ground
With bare, dead willows all around.
At Dove Heath there’s a slough, a bog,
Yet you hear neither toad nor frog.
White cotton grass grows all around
A bottomless pond in dipping ground
Where water seeps up, oozing and green,
That just in bareness can be seen.
That’s where she repeats tossing her child,
The place that beckons her back through the wild,
Where she’ll stand, tear her hair, then disappear,
Not to return before next year.
When autumn comes you hear quails calling.
Cuckoo’s long gone when leaves are falling.
Listen! Those loud moans! Can’t you hear?
Soon they will stop until next year.