They Come No More, Those Words, Those Finches

By Archibald MacLeish

Oh when you’re young
And the words to your tongue
Like the birds to Saint Francis
With darting, with dances—
Wait! you say, Wait!
There’s still time! It’s not late!

And the next day you’re old
And the words all as cold
As the birds in October
Sing over, sing over,
Sing Late! Late!
And Wait! you say, Wait!


Archibald MacLeish, from Collected Poems 1917–1982, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985.