A FLEET OF GEESE
AT Fiddler's Island in the Thames, Just outside Oxford town,
I watched a crowd of cackling geese That riverward came down.
Oh how they craned and trumpeted ! The strident challenge flew ; 'Twas, " No, I don't agree with that " And, " I am telling you 1 " They took the water one by one, And sat there side by side ; And soon their eager clamour ceased, As might a gale subside.
A silent, serried, gleaming fleet, With a steady breeze a-beam, They drifted slowly from the shore, Each bright bill turned upstream.
Passive and still they gazed ahead ; The wind blew on their flank ; A grey, compacted, floating isle, They gained the further bank, And landed just as they set forth, Singly, in order due ; And sought their island pasturage, When loud the gabble grew.
The human race hold parliaments Where many a thing's begun ; Geese, likewise, have their great debates, But get the business done.
JOHN ANDERSON STEwART.