Yours were the freedom of the fields,
Could ye beware the nets,
Which, to beguile your innocence,
The crafty fowler sets.
Yours is the sky up to the clouds;
But from huge birds of prey
Is no defence: they lurk and watch,
Swoop down and clutch and slay.
One moment, and a feathery ball
Floats fluttering on the air;
No one knows, did it reach the earth,
Or, if it did so, where.
Should by incalculable chance
It light upon the spot,
Where hung the sheltering mother-nest,
The place would know it not.
What a pathetic tragedy,
That such things should befall,
In ways so disproportionate,
The big upon the small!
Come, hear the Preacher of the Mount
His wonder-sermon preach:
“No sparrow falleth to the ground
Outside my Father’s reach.”
Ye more than sparrows through his grace,
All your anxiety,
Your heights and depths, your falls and flights
He has in memory.
All creatures are, with Him compared,
Mere nothings; none the less
He can reclaim a ravished bird
From next to nothingness.
by Geerhardus Vos, 1933