“The Owl” (February 1915), by Edward Thomas

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved; 
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof 
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest 
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof. 

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest, 
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I. 
All of the night was quite barred out except 
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry 

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill, 
No merry note, nor cause of merriment, 
But one telling me plain what I escaped 
And others could not, that night, as in I went. 

And salted was my food, and my repose, 
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice 
Speaking for all who lay under the stars, 
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

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