Christina Rossetti: Poems

Paradise: In A Symbol

(Lyra Eucharistica, second edition, 1865.)

Golden-winged, silver-winged,

Winged with flashing flame,

Such a flight of birds I saw,

Birds without a name:

Singing songs in their own tongue

(Song of songs) they came.

One to another calling,

Each answering each,

One to another calling

In their proper speech: 10

High above my head they wheeled,

Far out of reach.

On wings of flame they went and came

With a cadenced clang,

Their silver wings tinkled,

Their golden wings rang,

The wind it whistled through their wings

Where in Heaven they sang.

They flashed and they darted

Awhile before mine eyes, 20

Mounting, mounting, mounting still

In haste to scale the skies--

Birds without a nest on earth,

Birds of Paradise.

Where the moon riseth not,

Nor sun seeks the west,

There to sing their glory

Which they sing at rest,

There to sing their love-song

When they sing their best: 30

Not in any garden

That mortal foot hath trod,

Not in any flowering tree

That springs from earthly sod,

But in the garden where they dwell,

The Paradise of God.