Folk Song

A poem by John Charles McNeill

When merry milkmaids to their cattle call
At evenfall
And voices range
Loud through the gloam from grange to quiet grange,

Wild waif-songs from long distant lands and loves,
Like migrant doves,
Wake and give wing
To passion dust-dumb lips were wont to sing.

The new still holds the old moon in her arms;
The ancient charms
Of dew and dusk
Still lure her nomad odors from the musk,

And, at each day's millennial eclipse,
On new men's lips,
Some old song starts,
Made of the music of millennial hearts,

Whereto one listens as from long ago
And learns to know
That one day's tears
And love and life are as a thousand years',

And that some simple shepherd, singing of
His pain and love,
May haply find
His heart-song speaks the heart of all his kind.

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