THEY say I am a shy, wild thing,
That seeks the wild bush glade.
Quick to be gone on whirring wing,
Where strangers should invade;
But well I know what all birds know--
The voice of friend, the tread of foe;
And deem it wise to fear the worst
Till I have knowledge of you first.
Afar my muffled drumming sounds,
Where tangled dogwood grows;
But when you tread my feeding grounds
I am alert for foes.
A flash of iridescent wing,
And I am but a vanished thing.
Gone to be heard and seen no more,
In spite of all your forest lore.
But should you win me in the end
By dint of kindlier lore,
Gladly I take you for a friend,
And to your own house door
I come with confidence complete
To quest my food about your feet,
And, with a gravely gentle air,
Display my shy bronze beauty there.
The Bronzewing Pigeon
by C J Dennis (1876-1938)
The Singing Garden (1935) p.169.