. . . . Piped a tiny voice hard by,
Gay and polite, a cheerful cry,
Chic-chicadeedee! saucy note
Out of sound heart and merry throat,
As if it said, "Good-day, good sir!
Fine afternoon, old passenger!
Happy to meet you in these places,
Where January brings few faces."
This poet, though he live apart,
Moved by his hospitable heart,
Sped, when I passed his sylvan fort,
To do the honors of his court,
As fits a feathered lord of land;
Flew near, with soft wing grazed my hand;
Hopped on the bough, then, darting low,
Prints his small impress on the snow,
Shows feats of his gymnastic play,
Head downward, clinging to the spray,
Here was this atom in full breath,
Hurling defiance at vast death.
This scrap of valor, just for play,
Fronts the north wind in waistcoat gray.