RECKONING FROM FENCE TO FENCE
Before they swing around, Old Friend,
And turn their backs to the sun,
Before they reach this furrow's end,
Let them fancy just for fun.
That rusty barbed wire, loosely strung,
On leaning hickory rods,
Will soon be seen when they have swung
Eastward plowing diamond clods.
They know that's where the sparrows rest,
So ply a cyphering sense.
How many jaunty birds abreast
Will be watching from that fence?
By whim and wind he can forsee
A feathery seventy-four.
You always guess one less than low,
Always one less, never more.
It's time, Old Friend, to turn and tell
Who won their reckoning play.
By bray and bell, you have bode well,
All his birds have flown away.