"Survivor" is a song by John Duke setting a poem of Archibald MacLeish. "Survivor" is included in the John Duke volume, Songs, Vol. 2, Medium Voice, published by Southern Music Company.
by Archibald MacLeish
On an oak in autumn
there'll always be
one leaf left at the top of the tree
that won't let go with the rest and rot--
won't cast loose and skitter and sail
and end in a puddle of rain in a swale
and fatten the earth and be fruitful...
it won't and it won't and it won't let go.
It rattles a kind of jig tattoo,
a telegrapher's tattle that will get through
like an SOS from a struggling ship
over and over, a dash and a skip.
You cover your head with your quilt and still
that telegraphers key on Conway hill
calls to Polaris.
I can spell:
I know what it says...I know too well.
I pull my pillow over my ear--but I hear.