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´╗┐Title: Poems By a Little Girl
Author: Conkling, Hilda, 1910-1986
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Poems By a Little Girl" ***

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POEMS BY A LITTLE GIRL

By Hilda Conkling


With A Preface By Amy Lowell



FOR YOU, MOTHER

     I have a dream for you, Mother,
     Like a soft thick fringe to hide your eyes.
     I have a surprise for you, Mother,
     Shaped like a strange butterfly.
     I have found a way of thinking
     To make you happy;
     I have made a song and a poem
     All twisted into one.
     If I sing, you listen;
     If I think, you know.
     I have a secret from everybody in the world full of people
     But I cannot always remember how it goes;
     It is a song
     For you, Mother,
     With a curl of cloud and a feather of blue
     And a mist
     Blowing along the sky.
     If I sing it some day, under my voice,
     Will it make you happy?

Thanks are due to the editors of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, The
Delineator, Good Housekeeping, The Lyric, St. Nicholas, and Contemporary
Verse for their courteous permission to reprint many of the following
poems.



PREFACE

A book which needs to be written is one dealing with the childhood of
authors. It would be not only interesting, but instructive; not merely
profitable in a general way, but practical in a particular. We
might hope, in reading it, to gain some sort of knowledge as to what
environments and conditions are most conducive to the growth of the
creative faculty. We might even learn how not to strangle this rare
faculty in its early years.

At this moment I am faced with a difficult task, for here is an author
and her childhood in a most unusual position; these two conditions--that
of being an author, and that of being a child--appear simultaneously,
instead of in the due order to which we are accustomed. For I wish at
the outset to state, and emphatically, that it is poetry, the stuff and
essence of poetry, which this book contains. I know of no other instance
in which such really beautiful poetry has been written by a child; but,
confronted with so unwonted a state of things, two questions obtrude
themselves: how far has the condition of childhood been impaired by, not
only the possession, but the expression, of the gift of writing; how far
has the condition of authorship (at least in its more mature state still
to come) been hampered by this early leap into the light?

The first question concerns the little girl and can best be answered
by herself some twenty years hence; the second concerns the world, and
again the answer must wait. We can, however, do something--we can see
what she is and what she has done. And if the one is interesting to the
psychologist, the other is no less important to the poet.

Hilda Conkling is the younger daughter of Mrs. Grace Hazard Conkling,
Assistant Professor of English at Smith College, Northampton,
Massachusetts. At the time of writing, Hilda has just passed her ninth
birthday. Her sister, Elsa, is two years her senior. The children and
their mother live all the year round in Northampton, and glimpses of the
woods and hills surrounding the little town crop up again and again
in these poems. This is Emily Dickinson's country, and there is a
reminiscent sameness in the fauna and flora of her poems in these.

The two little girls go to a school a few blocks from where they live.
In the afternoons, they take long walks with their mother, or play in
the garden while she writes. On rainy days, there are books and Mrs.
Conkling's piano, which is not just a piano, for Mrs. Conkling is a
musician, and we may imagine that the children hear a special music as
they certainly read a special literature. By "special" I do not mean
a prescribed course (for dietitians of the mind are quite as apt to be
faddists as dietitians of the stomach), but just that sort of reading
which a person who passionately loves books would most want to introduce
her children to. And here I think we have the answer to the why of
Hilda. She and her sister have been their mother's close companions
ever since they were born. They have never known that somewhat equivocal
relationship--a child with its nurse. They have never been for hours at
a time in contact with an elementary intelligence. If Hilda had shown
these poems to even the most sympathetic nurse, what would have been the
result? In the first place, they would, in all probability, have been
lost, since Hilda does not write her poems, but tells them; in the
second, they would have been either extravagantly praised or laughingly
commented upon. In either case, the fine flower of creation would most
certainly have been injured.

Then again, blessed though many of the nurses of childhood undoubtedly
are (and we all remember them), they have no means of answering the
thousand and one questions of an eager, opening mind. To be an adequate
companion to childhood, one must know so many things. Hilda is fortunate
in her mother, for if these poems reveal one thing more than another
it is that Mrs. Conkling is dowered with an admirable tact. In the
dedication poem to her mother, the little girl says:

         "If I sing, you listen;
         If I think, you know."

No finer tribute could be offered by one person to another than the
contented certainty of understanding in those two lines.

Hilda tells her poems, and the method of it is this: They come out in
the course of conversation, and Mrs. Conkling is so often engaged in
writing that there is nothing to be remarked if she scribbles absently
while talking to the little girls. But this scribbling is really a
complete draught of the poem. Occasionally Mrs. Conkling writes down the
poem later from memory and reads it afterwards to the child, who
always remembers if it is not exactly in its original form. No line, no
cadence, is altered from Hilda's version; the titles have been added for
convenience, but they are merely obvious handles derived from the text.

Naturally it is only a small proportion of Hilda's life which is given
to poetry. Much is devoted to running about, a part to study, etc. It
is, however, significant that Hilda is not very keen about games with
other children. Not that she is by any means either shy or solitary, but
they do not greatly interest her. Doubtless childhood pays its debt of
possession more steadily than we know.

Now to turn to the book itself; at the very start, here is an amazing
thing. This slim volume contains one hundred and seven separate poems,
and that is counting as one all the very short pieces written between
the ages of five and six. Certainly that is a remarkable output for a
little girl, and the only possible explanation is that the poems are
perfectly instinctive. There is no working over as with an adult poet.
Hilda is subconscious, not self-conscious. Her mother says that she
rarely hesitates for a word. When the feeling is strong, it speaks
for itself. Read the dedication poem, "For You, Mother." It is full of
feeling, and of that simple, dignified, adequate diction which is the
speech of feeling:

     "I have found a way of thinking
     To make you happy."

That is beautiful, and, once read, inevitable; but it waited for a child
to say. Poem after poem is charged with this feeling, this expression of
great love:

     "I will sing you a song,
     Sweets-of-my-heart,
     With love in it,
     (How I love you!)"

      "Will you love me to-morrow after next
      As if I had a bird's way of singing?"

But it is not only the pulse of feeling in such passages which makes
them surprising; it is the perfectly original expression of it. When one
reads a thing and voluntarily exclaims: "How beautiful! How natural!
How true!" then one knows that one has stumbled upon that flash of
personality which we call genius. These poems are full of such flashes:

      "Sparkle up, little tired flower
      Leaning in the grass!"

          .    .    .

      "There is a star that runs very fast,
      That goes pulling the moon
      Through the tops of the poplars."

         .   .    .

      "There is sweetness in the tree,
      And fireflies are counting the leaves.
      I like this country,
      I like the way it has."

A pansy has a "thinking face"; a rooster has a comb "gay as a parade,"
he shouts "crooked words, loud . . . sharp . . . not beautiful!";
frozen water is asked if it cannot "lift" itself "with sun," and "Easter
morning says a glad thing over and over."

No matter who wrote them, those passages would be beautiful, the oldest
poet in the world could not improve upon them; and yet the reader has
only to turn to the text to see the incredibly early age at which such
expressions came into the author's mind.

Where childhood betrays genius is in the mounting up of detail.
Inadequate lines not infrequently jar a total effect, as when, in the
poem of the star pulling the moon, she suddenly ends, "Mr. Moon, does he
make you hurry?" Or, speaking of a drop of water:

      "So it went on with its life
      For several years
      Until at last it was never heard of
      Any more."

This is the perennial child, thinking as children think; and we are glad
of it. It makes the whole more healthy, more sure of development. When
the subconscious mind of Hilda Conkling takes a vacation, she does not
"nod," as erstwhile Homer; she merely reverts to type and is a child
again.

I think too highly of these poems to speak of the volume as though it
were the finished achievement of a grown-up person. Some of the poems
can be taken in that way, but by no means all. The child who writes them
frequently transcends herself, but her thoughts for the most part are
those proper to every imaginative child. Fairies play a large role in
her fancies, and so does the sandman. There are kings, and princesses,
and golden wings, and there are reminiscences of story-books, and hints
of pictures that have pleased her. After all, that is the way we all
make our poems, but the grown-up poet tries to get away from his author,
he tries to see more than the painter has seen. The little girl is quite
untroubled by any questions of technique. She takes what to her is the
obvious always, and in these copied pieces it is, naturally, less her
own peculiar obvious than in the nature poems.

Hilda Conkling is evidently possessed of a rare and accurate power of
observation. And when we add this to her gift of imagination, we see
that it is the perfectly natural play of these two faculties which makes
what to her is an obvious expression. She does not search for it, it is
her natural mode of thought. But, luckily for her, she has been guided
by a wisdom which has not attempted to show her a better way. Her
observation has been carefully, but unobtrusively, cultivated; her
imagination has been stimulated by the reading of excellent books; but
both these lines of instruction have been kept apparently apart from
her own work. She has been let alone there; she has been taught by an
analogy which she has never suspected. By this means, her poetical
gift has functioned happily, without ever for a moment experiencing the
tension of doubt.

A few passages will serve to show how well Hilda knows how to use her
eyes:

      "The water came in with a wavy look
      Like a spider's web."

A bluebird has a back "like a feathered sky." Apostrophizing a
snow-capped mountain she writes:

      "You shine like a lily
      But with a different whiteness."

She asks a humming-bird:

      "Why do you stand on the air
      And no sun shining?"

She hears a chickadee:

      "Far off I hear him talking
      The way smooth bright pebbles
      Drop into water."

Now let us follow her a step farther, to where the imagination takes a
firmer hold:

      "The world turns softly
      Not to spill its lakes and rivers.
      The water is held in its arms
      And the sky is held in the water."

School lessons, and a reflection in a pond--that is the stuff of which
all poetry is made. It is the fusion which shows the quality of
the poet. Turn to the text and read "Geography." Really, this is an
extraordinary child!

It is pleasant to watch her with the artist's eagerness intrigued by the
sounds of words, for instance:

 "--silvery lonesome lapping of the long wave."

Again, enchanted by a little bell of rhyme, we have this amusing
catalogue:

      "John-flowers,
      Mary-flowers,
      Polly-flowers
      Cauli-flowers."

That is the conscious Hilda, the gay little girl, but it shows a
quick ear nevertheless. We can almost hear the giggle with which that
"Cauliflowers" came out. Usually rhyme does not appear to be a matter of
moment to her. Some poets think in rhyme, some do not; Hilda
evidently belongs to the second category. "Treasure," and "The
Apple-Jelly-Fish-Tree," and "Short Story" are the only poems in the
book which seem to follow a clearly rhymed pattern. If any misguided
schoolmistress had ever suggested that a poem should have rhyme and
metre, this book would never have been "told." In "Moon Doves," however,
there is a distinctly metrical effect without rhyme. But the great
majority of the poems are built upon cadence, and the subtlety of
this little girl's cadences are a delight to those who can hear them.
Doubtless her musical inheritance has all to do with this, for in poem
after poem the instinct for rhythm is unerring. So constantly is
this the case, that it is scarcely necessary to point out particular
examples. I may, however, name, as two of her best for other qualities
as well, "Gift," and "Poems." The latter contains two of her quick
strokes of observation and comparison: the morning "like the inside of a
snow-apple," and she herself curled "cushion-shaped" in the window-seat.

Dear me! How simple these poems seem when you read them done. But try to
write something new about a dandelion. Try it; and then read the poem of
that name here. It is charming; how did she think of it? How indeed!

Delightful conceits she has--another is "Sun Flowers"--but how comes a
child of eight to prick and point with the rapier of irony? For it is
nothing less than irony in "The Tower and the Falcon." Did she
quite grasp its meaning herself? We may doubt it. In this poem, the
subconscious is very much on the job.

To my thinking, the most successful poems in the book--and now I mean
successful from a grown-up standpoint--are "For You, Mother," "Red
Rooster," "Gift," "Poems," "Dandelion," "Butterfly," "Weather," "Hills,"
and "Geography." And it will be noticed that these are precisely the
poems which must have sprung from actual experience. They are not the
book poems, not even the fairy poems, they are the records of reactions
from actual happenings. I have not a doubt that Hilda prefers her
fairy-stories. They are the conscious play of her imagination, it must
be "fun" to make them. Ah, but it is the unconscious with which we are
most concerned, those very poems which are probably to her the least
interesting are the ones which most certainly reveal the fulness of
poetry from which she draws. She probably hardly thought at all, so
natural was it, to say that three pinks "smell like more of them in a
blue vase," but the expression fills the air with so strong a scent that
no superlative could increase it.

"Gift" is a lovely poem, it has feeling, expression, originality,
cadence. If a child can write such a poem at eight years old, what does
it mean? That depends, I think, on how long the instructors of youth
can be persuaded to keep "hands off." A period of imitation is, I fear,
inevitable, but if consciousness is not induced by direct criticism, if
instruction in the art of writing is abjured, the imitative period will
probably be got through without undue loss. I think there is too much
native sense of beauty and proportion here to be entirely killed even by
the drying and freezing process which goes by the name of education.

What this book chiefly shows is high promise; but it also has its pages
of real achievement, and that of so high an order it may well set us
pondering.                                   AMY LOWELL.



CONTENTS

FOUR TO FIVE YEARS OLD



     FIRST SONGS

FIVE TO SIX YEARS OLD

     GARDEN OF THE WORLD
     THEATRE-SONG
     VELVETS
     TWO SONGS
     MOON SONG
     SUNSET
     MOUSE
     SHORT STORY
     BY LAKE CHAMPLAIN
     SPRING SONG
     WATER
     SHADY BRONN
     CHICKADEE
     THE CHAMPLAIN SANDMAN
     ROSE-MOSS
     ABOUT MY DREAMS

SIX TO SEVEN YEARS OLD

     AUTUMN SONG
     THE DREAM
     BUTTERFLY
     EVENING
     THUNDER SHOWER
     RED CROSS SONG
     PURPLE ASTERS
     SONG FOR A PLAY
     PEACOCK FEATHERS
     RED ROOSTER
     TREE-TOAD

SEVEN TO NINE YEARS OLD

     THE LONESOME WAVE
     RED-CAP MOSS
     RAMBLER ROSE
     GIFT
     THE WHITE CLOUD
     MOON THOUGHT
     THE OLD BRIDGE
     FERNS
     LAND OF NOD
     SUN FLOWERS
     HOLLAND SONG
     FOUNTAIN-TALK
     POPLARS
     THE TOWER AND THE FALCON
     THOUGHTS
     POEM-SKETCH IN THREE PARTS
     THE DEW-LIGHT
     YELLOW SUMMER THROAT
     PEGASUS
     VENICE BRIDGE
     NIGHT GOES RUSHING BY
     DANDELION
     IF I COULD TELL YOU THE WAY
     ROSE-PETAL
     POEMS
     SEAGARDE
     EASTER
     BLUEBIRD
     GEOGRAPHY
     MARCH THOUGHT
     MORNING
     SONG
     SNOWFLAKE SONG
     SNOWSTORM
     POPPY
     BUTTERFLY
     CLOUDS
     NARCISSUS
     LITTLE SNAIL
     CHERRIES ARE RIPE
     A THING FORGOTTEN
     LITTLE PAPOOSE
     FAIRIES AGAIN
     OH, MY HAZEL-EYED MOTHER
     THE GREEN PALM TREE
     TREASURE
     TWO PICTURES
     TELL ME
     SILVERHORN
     SPARKLING DROP OF WATER
     HAY-COCK
     ONLY MORNING-GLORY THAT FLOWERED
     WEATHER
     SUMMER-DAY SONG
     PINK ROSE-PETALS
     THE LONESOME GREEN APPLE
     I AM
     MUSHROOM SONG
     THE APPLE-JELLY-FISH-TREE
     THREE LOVES
     THE FIELD OF WONDER
     MOON DOVES
     I WENT TO SEA
     THREE THOUGHTS OF MY HEART
     SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAIN
     THE BROOK AND ITS CHILDREN
     BIRD OF PARADISE
     SHINY BROOK
     HILLS
     ADVENTURE
     FAIRIES
     HUMMING-BIRD
     BLUE GRASS
     ENVOY



FOUR TO FIVE YEARS OLD



FIRST SONGS

     I
     Rosy plum-tree, think of me
     When Spring comes down the world!

     II
     There's dozens full of dandelions
     Down in the field:
     Little gold plates,
     Little gold dishes in the grass.
     I cannot count them,
     But the fairies know every one.

     III
     Oh wrinkling star, wrinkling up so wise,
     When you go to sleep do you shut your eyes?

     IV
     The red moon comes out in the night.
     When I'm asleep, the moon comes pattering up
     Into the trees.
     Then I peep out my window
     To watch the moon go by.

     V
     Sparkle up, little tired flower
     Leaning in the grass!
     Did you find the rain of night
     Too heavy to hold?

     VI
     The garden is full of flowers
     All dancing round and round.
          John-flowers,
          Mary-flowers,
          Polly-flowers,
          Cauli-flowers,
     They dance round and round
     And they bow down and down
     To a black-eyed daisy.

     VII
     There is going to be the sound of bells
     And murmuring.
     This is the brook dance:
     There is going to be sound of voices,
     And the smallest will be the brook:
     It is the song of water
     You will hear,
     A little winding song
     To dance to . . .

     VIII
     Blossoms in the growing tree,
     Why don't you speak to me?
     I want to grow like you,
     Smiling . . . smiling . . .

     IX

     If I find a moon,
     I will sing a moon-song.
     If I find a flower,
     What song shall I sing,
     Rose-song or clover-song?

     X
     The blossoms will be gone in the winter:
     Oh apples, come for the June!
     Can you come, will you bloom?
     Will you stay till the cold?

     XI
     I will sing you a song,
     Sweets-of-my-heart,
     With love in it,
     (How I love you!)
     And a rose to swing in the wind,
     The wind that swings roses!

     XII
     Will you love me to-morrow after next,
     As if I had a bird's way of singing?



FIVE TO SIX YEARS OLD



     GARDEN OF THE WORLD

     The butterfly swings over the violet
     That stands by the water,
     In the garden that sings
     All day.
     The sun goes up in the dawn,
     The water waves softly.
     In the trees are little breezes,
     In the garden trees.
     Blue hills and blue waters I
     The big blue ocean lies around in the sun
     Watching his waves toss . . .



THEATRE-SONG

     Eagles were flying over the sky
     And mermaids danced in the gold waters.
     Eagles were calling over the sky
     And the water was the color of blue flowers.
     Sunshine was 'flected in the waves
     Like meadows of white buds.
     This is what I saw
     On a morning long ago . . .



VELVETS

     By a Bed of Pansies

     This pansy has a thinking face
     Like the yellow moon.
     This one has a face with white blots:
     I call him the clown.
     Here goes one down the grass
     With a pretty look of plumpness;
     She is a little girl going to school
     With her hands in the pockets of her pinafore.
     Her name is Sue.
     I like this one, in a bonnet,
     Waiting,

     Her eyes are so deep!
     But these on the other side,
     These that wear purple and blue,
     They are the Velvets,
     The king with his cloak,
     The queen with her gown,
     The prince with his feather.
     These are dark and quiet
     And stay alone.

     I know you, Velvets,
     Color of Dark,
     Like the pine-tree on the hill
     When stars shine!



TWO SONGS

     After Hearing the Wagner Story-book

     The birds came to tell Siegfried a story,
     A story of the woods out of a tree:
     How the ring was fairy
     And there were things it could do for him
     Day and night:
     How the river flowed green and wavy
     Under the Rainbow Bridge,
     And Brunnhilda slept in a wreath of fire.
     Grane watched her, standing close beside,
     Grane the big white horse,
     Dear Grane of her heart.
     She dreamed she was far from her father,
     But Siegfried was coming,
     Siegfried, through the big trees,
     Up the hill,
     Through the fire!

     II

     "Siegfried, hear us!
     Give us back the ring!"
     The lady with the shell,
     The water-lady with the green hair,
     Calling, cried "Siegfried!"
     But he laughed to hear her,
     Laughed in the sun
     And went into the woods laughing:
     He was happy in his heart,
     And he had golden hair
     Till the sun loved him.
     "Siegfried!"
     I will call him!
     "Siegfried!"
     But he will not hear me.
     He could talk to birds and rivers,
     And he is gone.



MOON SONG

     There is a star that runs very fast,
     That goes pulling the moon
     Through the tops of the poplars.
     It is all in silver,
     The tall star:
     The moon rolls goldenly along
     Out of breath.
     Mr. Moon, does he make you hurry?



SUNSET

     Once upon a time at evening-light
     A little girl was sad.
     There was a color in the sky,
     A color she knew in her dreamful heart
     And wanted to keep.
     She held out her arms
     Long, long,
     And saw it flow away on the wind.
     When it was gone
     She did not love the moonlight
     Or care for the stars.
     She had seen the rose in the sky.

     Sometimes I am sad
     Because I have a thought
     Of this little girl.



MOUSE

     Little mouse in gray velvet,
     Have you had a cheese-breakfast?
     There are no crumbs on your coat,
     Did you use a napkin?
     I wonder what you had to eat,
     And who dresses you in gray velvet?



SHORT STORY

     I found the gold on the hill;
     I found the hid gold!

     The wicked queen
     Stole the gold,
     Hid it under a stone
     And never told.

     The selfish queen
     Rolling away
     In her white limousine,
     Never knew nor dreamed
     That I searched all day
     Till I found the gold,
     The gold!



BY LAKE CHAMPLAIN

     I was bare as a leaf
     And I felt the wind on my shoulder.
     The trees laughed
     When I picked up the sun in my fingers.
     The wind was chasing the waves,
     Tangling their white curls.
     "Willow trees," I said,
     "O willows,
     Look at your lake!
     Stop laughing at a little girl
     Who runs past your feet in the sand!"



SPRING SONG

     I love daffodils.
     I love Narcissus when he bends his head.
     I can hardly keep March and spring and Sunday and daffodils
     Out of my rhyme of song.
     Do you know anything about the spring
     When it comes again?
     God knows about it while winter is lasting.
     Flowers bring him power in the spring,
     And birds bring it, and children.
     He is sometimes sad and alone
     Up there in the sky trying to keep his worlds happy.
     I bring him songs
     When he is in his sadness, and weary.
     I tell him how I used to wander out
     To study stars and the moon he made,
     And flowers in the dark of the wood.
     I keep reminding him about his flowers he has forgotten,
     And that snowdrops are up.
     What can I say to make him listen?
     "God," I say,
     "Don't you care!
     Nobody must be sad or sorry
     In the spring-time of flowers."



WATER

     The world turns softly
     Not to spill its lakes and rivers.
     The water is held in its arms
     And the sky is held in the water.
     What is water,
     That pours silver,
     And can hold the sky?



SHADY BRONN

     When the clouds come deep against the sky
     I sit alone in my room to think,
     To remember the fairy dreams I made,
     Listening to the rustling out of the trees.
     The stories in my fairy-tale book
     Come new to me every day.
     But at my farm on the hill-top
     I have the wind for a fairy,
     And the shapes of things:
     Shady Bronn is the name of my little farm:
     It is the name of a dream I have
     Where leaves move,
     And the wind rings them like little bells.



CHICKADEE

     The chickadee in the appletree
     Talks all the time very gently.
     He makes me sleepy.
     I rock away to the sea-lights.
     Far off I hear him talking
     The way smooth bright pebbles
     Drop into water . . .
     Chick-a-dee-dee-dee . . .



THE CHAMPLAIN SANDMAN

     The Sandman comes pattering across the Bay:
     His hair is silver,
     His footstep soft.
     The moon shines on his silver hair,
     On his quick feet.
     The Sandman comes searching across the Bay:
     He goes to all the houses he knows
     To put sand in little girls' eyes.
     That is why I go to my sleepy bed,
     And why the lake-gull leaves the moon alone.
     There are no wings to moonlight any more,
     Only the Sandman's hair.



ROSE-MOSS

     Little Rose-moss beside the stone,
     Are you lonely in the garden?
     There are no friends of you,
     And the birds are gone.
     Shall I pick you?"

     "Little girl up by the hollyhock,
     I am not lonely.
     I feel the sun burning,
     I hold light in my cup,
     I have all the rain I want,
     I think things to myself that you don't know,
     And I listen to the talk of crickets.
     I am not lonely,
     But you may pick me
     And take me to your mother."



ABOUT MY DREAMS

     Now the flowers are all folded
     And the dark is going by.
     The evening is arising . . .
     It is time to rest.
     When I am sleeping
     I find my pillow full of dreams.
     They are all new dreams:
     No one told them to me
     Before I came through the cloud.
     They remember the sky, my little dreams,
     They have wings, they are quick, they are sweet.
     Help me tell my dreams
     To the other children,
     So that their bread may taste whiter,
     So that the milk they drink
     May make them think of meadows
     In the sky of stars.
     Help me give bread to the other children
     So that their dreams may come back:
     So they will remember what they knew
     Before they came through the cloud.
     Let me hold their little hands in the dark,
     The lonely children,



ABOUT MY DREAMS

     The babies that have no mothers any more.
     Dear God, let me hold up my silver cup
     For them to drink,
     And tell them the sweetness
     Of my dreams.



SIX TO SEVEN YEARS OLD



AUTUMN SONG

     I made a ring of leaves
     On the autumn grass:
     I was a fairy queen all day.
     Inside the ring, the wind wore sandals
     Not to make a noise of going.
     The caterpillars, like little snow men,
     Had wound themselves in their winter coats.
     The hands of the trees were bare
     And their fingers fluttered.
     I was a queen of yellow leaves and brown,
     And the redness of my fairy ring
     Kept me warm.
     For the wind blew near,
     Though he made no noise of going,
     And I hadn't a close-made wrap
     Like the caterpillars.
     Even a queen of fairies can be cold
     When summer has forgotten and gone!
     Keep me warm, red leaves;
     Don't let the frost tiptoe into my ring
     On the magic grass!



THE DREAM

     When I slept, I thought I was upon the mountain-tops,
     And this is my dream.
     I saw the little people come out into the night,
     I saw their wings glittering under the stars.
     Crickets played all the tunes they knew.
     It was so comfortable with light . . .
     Stars, a rainbow, the moon!
     The fairies had shiny crowns
     On their bright hair.
     The bottoms of their little gowns were roses!
     It was musical in the moony light,
     And the fairy queen,
     Oh, it was all golden where she came
     With tiny pages on her trail.
     She walked slowly to her high throne,
     Slowly, slowly to music,
     And watched the dancing that went on
     All night long in star-glitter
     On the mountain-tops.



BUTTERFLY

     Butterfly,
     I like the way you wear your wings.
     Show me their colors,
     For the light is going.
     Spread out their edges of gold,
     Before the Sandman puts me to sleep
     And evening murmurs by.



EVENING

     Now it is dusky,
     And the hermit thrush and the black and white warbler
     Are singing and answering together.
     There is sweetness in the tree,
     And fireflies are counting the leaves.
     I like this country,
     I like the way it has,
     But I cannot forget my dream I had of the sea,
     The gulls swinging and calling,
     And the foamy towers of the waves.



THUNDER SHOWER

     The dark cloud raged.
     Gone was the morning light.
     The big drops darted down:
     The storm stood tall on the rose-trees:
     And the bees that were getting honey
     Out of wet roses,
     The hiding bees would not come out of the flowers
     Into the rain.



RED CROSS SONG

     When I heard the bees humming in the hive,
     They were so busy about their honey,
     I said to my mother,
     What can I give,
     What can I give to help the Red Cross?
     And Mother said to me:
     You can give honey too!
     Honey of smiles!
     Honey of love!



PURPLE ASTERS

     It isn't alone the asters
     In my garden,
     It is the butterflies gleaming
     Like crowns of kings and queens!
     It isn't alone purple
     And blue on the edge of purple,
     It is what the sun does,
     And the air moving clearly,
     The petals moving and the wings,
     In my queer little garden!



SONG FOR A PLAY

     Soldier drop that golden spear!
     Wait till the fires arise!
     Wait till the sky drops down and touches the spear,
     Crystal and mother-of-pearl!
     The sunlight droops forward
     Like wings.
     The birds sing songs of sun-drops.
     The sky leans down where the spear stands upward. . .
     I hear music . . .
     It is the end . . .



PEACOCK FEATHERS

     On trees of fairyland
     Grow peacock feathers of daylight colors
     Like an Austrian fan.
     But there is a strange thing!
     I have heard that night gathers these feathers
     For her cloak;
     I have heard that the stars, the moon,
     Are the eyes of peacock feathers
     From fairy trees.
     It is a thing that may be,
     But I should not be sure of it, my dear,
     If I were you!



RED ROOSTER

     Red rooster in your gray coop,
     O stately creature with tail-feathers red and blue,
     Yellow and black,
     You have a comb gay as a parade
     On your head:
     You have pearl trinkets
     On your feet:
     The short feathers smooth along your back
     Are the dark color of wet rocks,
     Or the rippled green of ships
     When I look at their sides through water.
     I don't know how you happened to be made
     So proud, so foolish,
     Wearing your coat of many colors,
     Shouting all day long your crooked words,
     Loud . . . sharp . . . not beautiful!



TREE-TOAD

     Tree-toad is a small gray person
     With a silver voice.
     Tree-toad is a leaf-gray shadow
     That sings.
     Tree-toad is never seen
     Unless a star squeezes through the leaves,
     Or a moth looks sharply at a gray branch.
     How would it be, I wonder,
     To sing patiently all night,
     Never thinking that people are asleep?
     Raindrops and mist, starriness over the trees,
     The moon, the dew, the other little singers,
     Cricket . . . toad . . . leaf rustling . . .
     They would listen:
     It would be music like weather
     That gets into all the corners
     Of out-of-doors.

     Every night I see little shadows
     I never saw before.
     Every night I hear little voices
     I never heard before.
     When night comes trailing her starry cloak,
     I start out for slumberland,
     With tree-toads calling along the roadside.
     Good-night, I say to one, Good-by, I say to another:
     I hope to find you on the way
     We have traveled before!
     I hope to hear you singing on the Road of Dreams!



SEVEN TO NINE YEARS OLD



THE LONESOME WAVE

     There is an island
     In the middle of my heart,
     And all day comes lapping on the shore
     A long silver wave.
     It is the lonesome wave;
     I cannot see the other side of it.
     It will never go away
     Until it meets the glad gold wave
     Of happiness!

     Wandering over the monstrous rocks,
     Looking into the caves,
     I see my island dark, all cold,
     Until the gold wave sweeps in
     From a sea deep blue,
     And flings itself on the beach.
     Oh, it is joy, then!
     No more whispers like sorrow,
     No more silvery lonesome lapping of the long wave . . .



RED-CAP MOSS

     Have you seen red-cap moss
     In the woods?
     Have you looked under the trembling caps
     For faces?
     Have you seen wonder on those faces
     Because you are so big?



RAMBLER ROSE

     Rambler Rose in great clusters,
     Looking at me, at my mother with me
     Under this apple-tree,
     Your faces watch us from outside the shade.
          The wind blows on you,
          The rain drops on you,
          The sun shines on you,
     You are brighter than before.
     You turn your faces to the wind
     And watch my mother and me,
     Thinking of things I cannot mention
     Outside of my mind.
     Rambler Rose in the shining wind,
     You smile at me,
     Smile at my mother!



GIFT

     This is mint and here are three pinks
     I have brought you, Mother.
     They are wet with rain
     And shining with it.
     The pinks smell like more of them
     In a blue vase:
     The mint smells like summer
     In many gardens.



THE WHITE CLOUD

     There are many clouds
     But not like the one I see,
     For mine floats like a swan in featheriness
     Over the River of the Broken Pine.

     There are many clouds
     But not like the one that goes sailing
     Like a ship full of gold that shines,
     Like a ship leaning above blue water.

     There are many clouds
     But not like the one I wait for,
     For mine will have a strangeness
     Whiter than anything your eyes remember.



MOON THOUGHT

     The moon is thinking of the river
     Winding through the mountains far away,
     Because she has a river in her heart
     Full of the same silver.



THE OLD BRIDGE

     The old bridge has a wrinkled face.
     He bends his back
     For us to go over.
     He moans and weeps
     But we do not hear.
     Sorrow stands in his face
     For the heavy weight and worry
     Of people passing.
     The trees drop their leaves into the water;
     The sky nods to him.
     The leaves float down like small ships
     On the blue surface
     Which is the sky.
     He is not always sad:
     He smiles to see the ships go down
     And the little children
     Playing on the river banks.



FERNS

     Small ferns up-coming through the mossy green,
     Up-curling and springing,
     See trees circling round them,
     And the straight brook like a lily-stem:
     Hear the water laughing
     At the stern old pine-tree
     Who keeps sighing to himself all day long
     What's the use!  What's the use!



LAND OF NOD

     I wander mountain to mountain,
     From sea to sea,
     I wander into a country
     Where everyone is asleep.
     There in the Land of Nod
     I never think of home,
     For home is there,
     With sleeping doves and silvery girls,
     Sleeping boys and drowsy roses.
     There I find people whose eyes are heavy,
     And trees with folded wings.



SUN FLOWERS

     Sun-flowers, stop growing!
     If you touch the sky where those clouds are passing
     Like tufts of dandelion gone to seed,
     The sky will put you out!
     You know it is blue like the sea . . .
     Maybe it is wet, too!
     Your gold faces will be gone forever
     If you brush against that blue
     Ever so softly!



HOLLAND SONG

     For a Dutch picture

     When light comes creeping through the
     That shine with mist,
     When winds blow soft,
     Windmills wake and whirl.
     In Holland, in Holland,
     Everything is cheerful
     Across the sea:
     White nets are beside the water
     Where ships sail by.
     The mountains begin to get blue,
     The Dutch girls begin to sing,
     The windmills begin to whirl.
     Then night comes
     The mountains turn dark gray
     And faint away into night.
     Not a bird chirps his song.
     All is drowsy,
     All is strange,
     With the moon and stars shining round the world:
     The wind stops,
     The windmills stop
     In Holland . . .



FOUNTAIN-TALK

     Said the fountain to its clear bed,
     "You might flow faster!
     I am sprinkling my best, every day,
     But ice is holding you fast.
     Can't you get out?
     Can't you lift yourself with sun?
     I am tired waiting for slow cold water
     To fling about the air:
     Can't you wake yourself up?"
     But the fountain-basin murmured softly
     "Sleep . . . sleep . . .
     Sleep . . . sleep . . .
     You with your talking and talking!
     Hush . . . hush . . .
     I hear the bird-sandman!"



POPLARS

     The poplars bow forward and back;
     They are like a fan waving very softly.
     They tremble,
     For they love the wind in their feathery branches.
     They love to look down at the shallows,
          At the mermaids
          On the sandy shore;
     They love to look into morning's face
          Cool in the water.



THE TOWER AND THE FALCON

     There was a tower, once,
     In a London street.
     It was the highest, widest, thickest tower,
     The proudest, roundest, finest tower
     Of all towers.
     English men passed it by:
     They could not see it all
     Because it went above tree-tops and clouds.

     It was lonely up there where the trees stopped
     Until one day
     A blue falcon came flying.
     He cried:
     "Tower!  Do you know you are the highest, finest, roundest,
     The tallest, proudest, greatest,
     Of all the towers
     In all the world?"

     He went away.
     That night the tower made a new song
     About himself.



THOUGHTS

     My thoughts keep going far away
     Into another country under a different sky:
     My thoughts are sea-foam and sand;
     They are apple-petals fluttering.



POEM-SKETCH IN THREE PARTS

     (Made for the picture on the jacket of the
     Norwegian book, The Great Hunger, by Johan Bojer)

     I



THE ROLLING IN OF THE WAVE

     It was night when the sky was dark blue
     And the water came in with a wavy look
     Like a spider's web.
     The point of the slope came down to the water's edge;
     It was green with a fairy ring of forget-me-not and fern.
     The white foam licked the side of the slope
     As it came up and bent backward;
     It curled up like a beautiful cinder-tree
     Bending in the wind.



II



THE COMING OF THE GREAT BIRD

     A boy was watching the water
     As it came lapping the edge of fern.
     Little ships passed him
     As the moon came leaning across dark blue rays of light.
     The spruce trees saw the white ships sailing away,
     And the moon bending up the blue sky
     Where stars were twinkling like fairy lamps;
     The boy was looking toward foreign lands
     As the ships passed,
     Their white sails glittering in the moonlight.
     He was thinking how he wished to see
     Foreign lands, strange people,
     When suddenly a bird came flying!
     It swooped down upon the slope
     And spoke to him:
     "Do you want to go across the deep blue sea?
     Get on my back; I will take you."
     "Oh," cried the little boy, "who sent you?
     Who knew my thoughts of foreign lands?"



III



THE ISLAND

     They flew as the night-wind flowed, very softly,
     They heard sweet singing that the water sang,
     They came to a place where the sea was shallow
     And saw treasure hidden there.
     There was one poplar tree
     On the lonely island,
     Swaying for sadness.
     The clouds went over their heads
     Like a fleet of drifting ships.
     And there they sank down out of the air
     Into the dream.



THE DEW-LIGHT

     The Dew-man comes over the mountains wide,
     Over the deserts of sand,
     With his bag of clear drops
     And his brush of feathers.
     He scatters brightness.
     The white bunnies beg him for dew.
     He sprinkles their fur,
     They shake themselves.
     All the time he is singing
          The unknown world is beautiful!

     He polishes flowers,
     Humming "Oh, beautiful!"
     He sings in the soft light
     That grows out of the dew,
     Out of the misty dew-light that leans over him
     He makes his song . . .
          It is beautiful, the unknown world!



YELLOW SUMMER-THROAT

     Yellow summer-throat sat singing
     In a bending spray of willow tree.
     Thin fine green-y lines on his throat,
     The ruffled outside of his throat,
     Trembled when he sang.
     He kept saying the same thing;
     The willow did not mind.

          I knew what he said, I knew,
          But how can I tell you?

     I have to watch the willow bend in the wind.



PEGASUS

     Come dear Pegasus, I said,
     Let me ride on your back;
     I have often seen your shadow in the glittering creek;
     Pegasus, beautiful Pegasus,
     Let me sit on your back!

     He was away,
     But I was on his back,
     So I went with him.
     We had a castle in a mountain cloud.
     So quickly was he away,
     I had no time to look or speak!
     That was the last I saw of father or mother.
     We went far from the shining creek,
     Farther than I know how to tell you:
     It was good-by.



VENICE BRIDGE

     For a painting

     Away back in an old city
     I saw a bridge.
     That bridge belonged to Venice.
     It was to the rainbow clear
     It traveled,
     Over an old canal.
     You had to pass a cloudy gate
     To reach the color . . .
     Bridges do sometimes begin on the earth
     And end in the sky.



NIGHT GOES RUSHING BY

     Night goes hurrying over
     Like sweeping clouds;
     The birds are nested; their song is silent.
     The wind says oo--oo--oo--through the trees
     For their lullaby.
     The moon shines down on the sleeping birds.

     My cottage roof is like a sheet of silk
     Spun like a cobweb.
     My apple-trees are bare as the oaks in the forest;
     When the moon shines
     I see no leaves.

     I am alone and very quiet
     Hoping the moon may say something
     Before long.



DANDELION

     O little soldier with the golden helmet,
     What are you guarding on my lawn?
     You with your green gun
     And your yellow beard,
     Why do you stand so stiff?
     There is only the grass to fight!



IF I COULD TELL YOU THE WAY

     Down through the forest to the river
     I wander.
     There are swans flying,
     Swans on the water,
     Duck, wild birds.
     Fairies live here;
     They know no sorrow.
     Birds, winds,
     They are the only people.
     If I could tell you the way to this place,
     You would sell your house and your land
     For silver or a little gold,
     You would sail up the river,
     Tie your boat to the Black Stone,
     Build a leaf-hut, make a twig-fire,
     Gather mushrooms, drink spring-water,
     Live alone and sing to yourself
     For a year and a year and a year!



ROSE-PETAL

     Petal with rosy cheeks,
     Petal with thoughts of your own,
     Petal of my crimson-white flower out of June,
     Little petal of my heart!



POEMS

     See the fur coats go by!
     The morning is like the inside of a snow-apple.
     I will curl myself cushion-shape
     On the window-seat;
     I will read poems by snow-light.
     If I cannot understand them so,
     I will turn them upside down
     And read them by the red candles
     Of garden brambles.



SEAGARDE

     I will return to you
     O stillest and dearest,
     To see the pearl of light
     That flashes in your golden hair;
     To hear you sing your songs of starlight
     And tell your stories of the wonderful land
     Of stars and fleecy sky;
     To say to you that Seagarde will soon be here,
     Seagarde the fairy
     With her seagulls of hope!



EASTER

     On Easter morn
     Up the faint cloudy sky
     I hear the Easter bell,
     Ding dong . . . ding dong . . .
     Easter morning scatters lilies
     On every doorstep;
     Easter morning says a glad thing
     Over and over.
     Poor people, beggars, old women
     Are hearing the Easter bell . . .
     Ding dong . . . ding dong . . .



BLUEBIRD

     Oh bluebird with light red breast,
     And your blue back like a feathered sky,
     You have to go down south
     Before biting winter comes
     And my flower-beds are covered with fluff out of the clouds.
     Before you go,
     Sing me one more song
     Of tree-tops down south,
     Of darkies singing their babies to sleep,
     Of sand and glittering stones
     Where rivers pass;
     Then . . . good-by!



GEOGRAPHY

     I can tell balsam trees
     By their grayish bluish silverish look of smoke.
     Pine trees fringe out.
     Hemlocks look like Christmas.
     The spruce tree is feathered and rough
     Like the legs of the red chickens in our poultry yard.
     I can study my geography from chickens
     Named for Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island,
     And from trees out of Canada.
     No; I shall leave the chickens out.
     I shall make a new geography of my own.
     I shall have a hillside of spruce and hemlock
     Like a separate country,
     And I shall mark a walk of spires on my map,
     A secret road of balsam trees
     With blue buds.
     Trees Fat smell like a wind out of fairy-land
     Where little people live
     Who need no geography
     But trees.



MARCH THOUGHT

     I am waiting for the flowers
     To come back:
     I am alone,
     But I can wait for the birds.



MORNING

     There is a brook I must hear
     Before I go to sleep.
     There is a birch tree I must visit
     Every night of clearness.
     I have to do some dreaming,
     I have to listen a great deal,
     Before light comes back
     By a silver arrow of cloud,
     And I rub my eyes and say
     It must be morning on this hill!



SONG

     A scarlet bird went sailing away through the wood . . .

     It was only a mist of dream
     That floated by.

     Bare boughs of my apple-tree,
     Beautiful gray arms stretched out to me,
     Swaying to and fro like angels' wings . . .

     It was only a mist of dream
     That floated by.



SNOWFLAKE SONG

     Snowflakes come in fleets
     Like ships over the sea.
     The moon shines down on the crusty snow:
     The stars make the sky sparkle like gold-fish
     In a glassy bowl.
     Bluebirds are gone now,
     But they left their song behind them.
     The moon seems to say:
     It is time for summer when the birds come back
     To pick up their lonesome songs.



SNOWSTORM

     Snowflakes are dancing.
     They run down out of heaven.
     Coming home from somewhere down the long tired road
     They flake us sometimes
     The way they do the grass,
     And the stretch of the world.
     The grass-blades are crowned with snowflakes.
     They make me think of daisies
     With white frills around their necks
     With golden faces and green gowns;
     Poor little daisies,
     Tip-toe and shivering
     In the cold!



POPPY

     Oh big red poppy,
     You look stern and sturdy,
     Yet you bow to the wind
     And sing a lullaby . . .
          "Sleep, little ones under my breast
          In the moonshine . . ."
     You make this lullaby,
     Sweet, short,
     Slow, beautiful,
     And you thank the dew for giving you a drink.



BUTTERFLY

     As I walked through my garden
     I saw a butterfly light on a flower.
     His wings were pink and purple:
     He spoke a small word . . .
     It was Follow!
     "I cannot follow"
     I told him,
     "I have to go the opposite way."



CLOUDS

     The clouds were gray all day.
     At last they departed
     And the blue diamonds shone again.
     I watched clouds float past and flow back
     Like waves across the sea,
     Waves that are foamy and soft,
     When they hear clouds calling
     Mother Sea, send us up your song
     Of hushaby!



NARCISSUS

     Narcissus, I like to watch you grow
     When snow is shining
     Beyond the crystal glass.
     A coat of snow covers the hills far.
     The sun is setting;
     And you stretch out flowers of palest white
     In the pink of the sun.



LITTLE SNAIL

     I saw a little snail
     Come down the garden walk.
     He wagged his head this way . . . that way . . .
     Like a clown in a circus.
     He looked from side to side
     As though he were from a different country.
     I have always said he carries his house on his back . . .
     To-day in the rain
     I saw that it was his umbrella!



CHERRIES ARE RIPE

     The cherry tree is red now;
     Cherry tree nods his red head
     And calls to the sun:
     Let down the birds out of the sky;
     Send home the birds to build nests in my arms,
     For I am ready to feed them.
     There is a little girl coming for cherries too . . .
     (I am that little girl, I who am singing . . .)
     She is coming with hair flying!
     The butterflies will be going (says the cherry)
     For it is getting dusk.
     When it is dawn,
     They will be up and out with the dew,
     And sparkle as the dew does
     On the tips of tall slender green grasses
     Around my feet,
     Or on the cheeks of fruit I have ripened,
     Red cherries for birds
     And children.

     A THING FORGOTTEN

     White owl is not gloomy;
     Black bat is not sad.
     It is only that each has forgotten
     Something he used to remember:
     Black bat goes searching . . . searching . . .
     White owl says over and over
     Who?  What?  Where?



LITTLE PAPOOSE:

     Little papoose
     swung high in the branches
     Hears a song of birds, stars, clouds,
     Small nests of birds,
     Small buds of flowers.
     But he is thinking of his mother with dark hair
     Like her horse's mane.

     Fair clouds nod to him
     Where he swings in the tree,
     But he is thinking of his father
     Dark and glistening and wonderful,
     Of his father with a voice like ice and velvet,
     And tones of falling water,
     Of his father who shouts
     Like a storm.



FAIRIES AGAIN

     Fairies dancing in the woods at night
     Make me think of foreign places,
     Of places unknown.
     Fairies with sparkling crowns and dewy hands,
     Sprinkle flowers and mosses to keep them fresh,
     Talk to the birds to keep them cheery.
     Once a bird came home
     And found a fairy asleep in his nest,
     Upon his baby eggs,
     To keep them warm!



OH, MY HAZEL-EYED MOTHER

     Oh, my hazel-eyed mother,
     I looked behind the mulberry bush
     And saw you standing there.
     You were all in white
     With a star on your forehead.

     Oh, my hazel-eyed mother,
     I do not remember what you said to me,
     But the light floating above you
     Was your love for your little girl.



THE GREEN PALM TREE

     I sat under a delicate palm tree
     On a shore of sounding waves.
     I felt sure I was alone,
     Listening.
          A sea-gull flew by from France,
          A sea-gull flew by from Spain,
          A sea-gull flew by from Mexico!
     I laughed softly
     When they saw me:
     It was those travelers
     From foreign countries
     Changed my thoughts
     To laughter!



TREASURE

     Robbers carry a treasure
     Into a field of wheat.
     With a great bag of silk
     They go on careful feet.
     They dig a hole, deep, deep,
     They bury it under a stone,
     Cover it up with turf,
     Leave it alone.
     What is there in the bag?
     Stones that shine, gold?
     _I_ cannot rob the robbers!
     THEY have not told.
     To-night I'd like to know
     If they will go
     Softly to find the treasure?
     I'd like to know
     How much yellow gold
     A bag like that can hold?



TWO PICTURES

     I

     Gorgeous Blue Mountain

     I see a great mountain
     Stand among clouds;
     You would never know
     Where it ended. . . .
     Oh, gorgeous blue mountain of my heart
     And of my love for you!



II

     Sea-Gull

     From a yellow strip of sand
     I watch a gull go by.
     He is bright-eyed
     To see the world of waves.
     All his dream is of the sea.
     All his love is for his mate.



TELL ME

     Tell me quiet things
     When it is shadowy:
     It is at morningbreak you must tell me tales
     Like those about Odysseus,
     Morning is the time for ships
     And strangers!



SILVERHORN

     It is out in the mountains
     I find him,
     My snowy deer
     With silver horns like dew,
     Horns that sparkle.
     I think I see him in the hollow,
     He is on the high hill!
     I think I see him on the hill,
     He is leaping through the air!
     I think I can ride upon his back,
     He is like moonlight I cannot hold,
     He is like thoughts I lose.
     He flows by
     All white . . .
     He makes me think of the brook
     Out of the hills
     With its little foamy points
     Like his twitching ears,
     Like his horns of silver
     Sparkling.

     The brook is his only friend
     When he travels . . .
     Silverhorn, Silverhorn!



SPARKLING DROP OF WATER

     The sun shone,

     All was still.
     The sun made one sparkle in one drop
     Before it fell
     Down into the mossy green
     That was the grass.
     It lay there silent
     A long time.
     The sun went, the moon came,
     Again one sparkle in the grass!
     Day then night, sun then moon,
     Year in, year out,
     So it went on with its life
     For several years
     Until at last it was never heard of
     Any more.



HAY-COCK

     This is another kind of sweetness
     Shaped like a bee-hive:
     This is the hive the bees have lefts
     It is from this clover-heap
     They took away the honey
     For the other hive!



ONLY MORNING-GLORY THAT FLOWERED

     Under the vine I saw one morning-glory
     A tight unfolding bud
     Half out.
     He looked hard down into my lettuce-bed.
     He was thinking hard.
     He said I want a friend!
     I was standing there:
     I said, Well, I am here!  Don't you see me?
     But he thought and thought.

     The next day I found him happy,
     Quite out,
     Looking about the world.
     The wind blew sweet airs,
     Carried away his perfume in the sun;
     And near by swung a new flower
     Uncurling its hands . . .
     He was not thoughtful
     Any more!



WEATHER

     Weather is the answer
     When I can't go out into flowery places;
     Weather is my wonder
     About the kind of morning
     Hidden behind the hills of sky.



SUMMER-DAY SONG

     Wild birds fly over me.
     I am not the blue curtain overhead,
     I am the one who lives under the sky.
     I swing to the tree-tops,
     I pick strawberries,
     I sing and play,
     And happiness makes me like a great god
     On the earth.
     It makes me think of great things
     A little girl like me
     Could not know of.



PINK ROSE-PETALS

     Pink rose-petals
     Fluttering down in hosts,
     I know what you mean
     Sometimes, in Spring.
     It is love you mean.

     Love has a gray bird
     That flutters down;
     A dove that comes flying
     Saying the same thing.

     How happy it makes me to think of it,
     Rose-petals . . . the gray dove . . .



THE LONESOME GREEN APPLE

     There was a little green apple
     That had lasted over winter.
     He had one leaf . . .
     In spite of that he was lonesome.
     He wondered what he could do
     When the blossoms were all around him,
     But one day he saw something!
     Petals were falling, faces were looking out,
     Shapes like his were coming in the buds;
     Then he said:
     "If I hold on
     There will be a tree-full,
     and I shall know more than any of them!"

     I AM

     I am willowy boughs
     For coolness;
     I am gold-finch wings
     For darkness;
     I am a little grape
     Thinking of September,
     I am a very small violet
     Thinking of May.



MUSHROOM SONG

     Oh little mushrooms with brown faces underneath
     And bare white heads,
     You think of summer and you think of song . . .
     Why don't you think of me
     In my little white bed
     In the night?
     You think only of your singsong and your dances,
     Following your leader round and round,
     You think only of the grass
     And the green apples and leaves
     Dropping out of the blue . . .
     Why don't you think of me asleep
     In my little white bed?
     The wind thinks of me,
     Brown-white dancers!
     You forget,
     But the wind remembers.



THE APPLE-JELLY-FISH-TREE

     Down in the depths of the sea
     Grew the Apple-Jelly-Fish-Tree.
     It was named by a queer old robber
     And his mates three.

     I watched it for a second,
     I watched it for a day.
     It did not change color
     For its colors stay.

     It was as red, as yellow, as white, as blue
     As gold and stones with the light through!

     I watched it long and long
     Till a flying sunfish
     Swam through its branches.
     He had opal wings
     And a sapphire tail.

     No wonder robbers like to stay
     Where fish so shining come to play!



THREE LOVES

     Angel-love,
     Fairy-love,
     Wave-love,
     Which will you choose?
     Angel-love . . . golden-yellow and far white . . .
     Fairy-love . . . golden yellow and green . . .
     Wave-love . . . scarlet and azure blue . . .
     Which will you choose?

     I will keep them in a box
     Locked with a twisted key.
     I will give them to people who need love,
     I will let them choose.
     Fairy-love blows away like leaves.
     Angels I know little about.
     For myself I choose wave-love
     Because of the wind and the sea and my heart.



THE FIELD OF WONDER

     What could be more wonderful
     Than the place where I walk sometimes?
     Swaying like trees in rain . . .
     Swaying like trees in sunshine
     When breezes stir nothing but happiness . . .
     What could be more lovely?
     I walk in the Field of Wonder
     Where colors come to be;
     I stare at the sky . . .
     I feel myself lifting on the wind
     As the swallows lift and blow upward . . .
     I see colors fade out, they die away . . .
     I blow across a cloud . . . I am lifted . . .
     How can I change again into a little girl
     When wings are in my feeling of gladness?
     This is strange to know
     On a summer day at noon,
     This is a wild new joy
     When summer is over.
     The scarlet of three maple trees
     Will guide me home,
     Oh mother my dear!
     Fear nothing: I will come home
     Before snow falls!



MOON DOVES

     The moon has a dove-cote safe and small,
     Hid in the velvet sky:
     The doves are her companions sweet;
     She has no others.
     Moon doves on the wing are white
     As a valley of stars,
     When they fly, there is shining
     Like a golden river.
     I see so many whirling away and away,
     How can they get home again?
     The moon is calm and never wears an anxious look,
     She goes on smiling.
     I hear so many doves along the sky
     How will her dove-cote hold them?
     The moon says not one word to me;
     She lets me wonder.

     I WENT TO SEA

     I WENT to sea in a glass-bottomed boat
     And found that the loveliest shells of all
     Are hidden below in valleys of sand.
     I saw coral and sponge and weed
     And bubbles like jewels dangling.
     I saw a creature with eyes of mist
     Go by slowly.
     Star-fish fingers held the water . . .
     Let it go again . . .
     I saw little fish, the children of the sea;
     They were gay and busy.
     I wanted the sea-weed purple; I wanted the shells;
     I wanted a little fish to hold in my hands;
     I wanted the big fish to stop wandering about,
     And tell me all they knew . . .
     I have come back safe and dry
     And know no more secrets
     Than yesterday!



THREE THOUGHTS OF MY HEART

     As I was straying by the forest brook
     I heard my heart speak to me:
     Listen; said my heart,
     I have three thoughts for you . . .
     a thought of clouds,
     A thought of birds,
     A thought of flowers.

     I sat upon a cushion of moss,
     Listening,
     Where the light played, and the green shadows:
     What would you do . . . I asked my heart . . .
     If you were a floating ship of the sky . . .
     If you were a peering bird . . .
     If you were a wild geranium?

     And my heart made answer:
     That is what I wonder and wonder!
     After all it is life I love,
     After all I am a living thing,
     After all I am the heart of you . . .
     I am content!



SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAIN

     Snow-capped mountain, so white, so tall,
     The whole sea
     Must stand behind you!

     Snow-capped mountain, with the wind on your forehead,
     Do you hold the eagles' nests?

     Proud thing,
     You shine like a lily,
     Yet with a different whiteness;
     I should not dare to venture
     Up your slippery towers,
     For I am thinking you lean too far
     Over the Edge of the World!



THE BROOK AND ITS CHILDREN

     "O brook, running down your mossy way,
     I hear only your voice
     And the murmuring fir-trees;
     Where are your children?
     Where are the magic stones, your children?"

     The brook answered me sweetly,
     "I left them on the Alp,
     In steep fields.
     They were trying to hold me back,
     To keep me from this shady path of happiness;
     But I went onward day by day
     Until they got used to seeing me pass.
     Now, they stand there in an enchantment
     On the mountain-side,
     While I travel fields of elm and poplar."



BIRD OF PARADISE

     I was walking in a meadow of Paradise
     When I heard a singing
     Far away and sweet
     Like a Roman harp,
     Sweet and murmurous
     Like the wind,
     Far and soft
     Like the fir trees.

     It will not change a song
     If the bird has a golden crest;
     No feathers of blue and rose-red
     Could make a song.
     I have known in my dreaming
     A gray bird that sang
     While all the fields listened!
     The Bird of Paradise is like flowers of many trees
     Blooming on one:
     I saw him in the meadow,
     But it was the gray bird I heard singing
     Beyond and far.



SHINY BROOK

     Oh, shiny brook,
     I watch you on your way to the sea,
     And see little faces peering up
     Out of the water . . .
     Water-fairies
     Strange smiles and questions.
     They are your pebbles sweet,
     Golden with foam of the sun,
     Blue with foam of the sky.
     I know their way of speaking,
     Of talking to each other:
     I hear them telling secrets
     About green moss, about fish that get lost.
     And how I am sitting on a big stone
     Getting my feet wet in Shiny Brook
     To watch their surprising ways!



HILLS

     The hills are going somewhere;
     They have been on the way a long time.
     They are like camels in a line
     But they move more slowly.
     Sometimes at sunset they carry silks,
     But most of the time silver birch trees,
     Heavy rocks, heavy trees, gold leaves
     On heavy branches till they are aching . . .
     Birches like silver bars they can hardly lift
     With grass so thick about their feet to hinder . . .
     They have not gone far
     In the time I've watched them . . .



ADVENTURE

     I went slowly through the wood of shadows,
     Thinking always I should meet some one:
     There was no one.

     I found a hollow
     Sweet to rest in all night long:
     I did not stay.

     I came out beyond the trees
     To the moaning sea.
     Over the sea swam a cloud the outline of a ship:
     What if that ship held my adventure
     Under its sails?

     Come quickly to me, come quickly,
     I am waiting.
     I am here on the sand;
     Sail close!
     I want to go over the waves . . .
     The sand holds me back.
     Oh adventure, if you belong to me,
     Don't blow away down the sky!



FAIRIES

     I cannot see fairies.
     I dream them.
     There is no fairy can hide from me;
     I keep on dreaming till I find him:
     There you are, Primrose!  I see you, Black Wing!



HUMMING-BIRD

     Why do you stand on the air
     And no sun shining?
     How can you hold yourself so still
     On raindrops sliding?
     They change and fall, they are not steady,
     But you do not know they are gone.
     Is there a silver wire
     I cannot see?
     Is the wind your perch?
     Raindrops slide down your little shoulders . . .
     They do not wet you:
     I think you are not real
     In your green feathers!
     You are not a humming-bird at all
     Standing on air above the garden!
     I dreamed you the way I dream fairies,
     Or the flower I lost yesterday!



BLUE GRASS

     Blue grass flowering in the field,
     You are my heart's content.
     It is not only through the day I see you,
     But in dreams at night
     When you trudge up the hill
     Along the forest,
     As I do!
     You are small to shine so,
     Nobody speaks of you much,
     Because of daisies and such summer blooms.
     When you wonder why I like you
     It makes me wonder too!
     Maybe I remember when you grew high
     Like a tree above my head,
     Because I was a fairy.



ENVOY

     If I am happy, and you,
     And there are things to do,
     It seems to be the reason
     Of this world!





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