A robin skimmed into the room,
And blithe he looked and jolly,
A foe to every sort of gloom,
And, most, to melancholy.
He cocked his head, he made no sound,
But gave me stare for stare back,
When, having fluttered round and round,
He perched upon a chair-back.
I rose; ah, then, it seemed, he knew
Too late his reckless error:
Away in eager haste he flew,
And at his tail flew terror.
Now here, now there, from wall to floor,
For mere escape appealing,
He fled and struck against the door
Or bumped about the ceiling.
I went and flung each window wide,
I drew each half-raised blind up;
To coax him out in vain I tried;
He could not make his mind up.
He flew, he fell, he took a rest,
And off again he scuffled
With parted beak and panting breast
And every feather ruffled.
At length I lured him to the sill,
All dazed and undivining;
Beyond was peace o'er vale and hill,
And all the air was shining.
I stretched my hand and touched him; then
He made no more resistance,
But left the cramped abode of men
And flew into the distance.
* * * * *
Is life like that? We make it so;
We leave the sunny spaces,
And beat about, or high or low,
In dark and narrow places;
Till, worn with failure, vexed with doubt,
Our strength at last we rally,
And the bruised spirit flutters out
To find the happy valley.