The Unexplorer

There was a road ran past our house
Too lovely to explore.
I asked my mother once—she said
That if you followed where it led
It brought you to the milk-man’s door.
(That’s why I have not travelled more.)

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

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A LAMENT

O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more—O never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more—O never more!

— P.B. Shelley

THE TRUTH

Friend, though thy soul should burn thee, yet be still.
Thoughts were not meant for strife, nor tongues for swords.
He that sees clear is gentlest of his words,
And that’s not truth that hath the heart to kill.
The whole world’s thought shall not one truth fulfil.
Dull in our age, and passionate in youth,
No mind of man hath found the perfect truth,
Nor shalt thou find it; therefore, friend, be still.

Watch and be still, nor hearken to the fool,
The babbler of consistency and rule:
Wisest is he, who, never quite secure,
Changes his thoughts for better day by day:
To-morrow some new light will shine, be sure,
And thou shalt see thy thought another way.

— Archibald Lampman

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THE NIGHTINGALE

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring,
Every thing did banish moan
Save the Nightingale alone.
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean’d her breast against a thorn,
And there sung the dolefullest ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry;
Tereu, tereu, by and by:
That to hear her so complain
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs so lively shown
Made me think upon mine own.
—Ah! thought I, thou mourn’st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee;
King Pandion, he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp’d in lead:
All thy fellow birds do sing
Careless of thy sorrowing:
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.

— R. Barnefield

MY HEART’S IN THE HIGHLANDS

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe.
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birthplace of valor, the country of worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands forever I love.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe.
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

–Robert Burns

FATHER AND MOTHER TONGUE

Our Father Land! and wouldst thou know
Why we should call it Father Land?
It is that Adam here below
Was made of earth by Nature’s hand;
And he our father, made of earth,
Hath peopled earth on every hand;
And we, in memory of his birth,
Do call our country Father Land.

At first, in Eden’s bowers, they say,
No sound of speech had Adam caught,
But whistled like a bird all day,—
And maybe ’twas for want of thought:
But Nature, with resistless laws,
Made Adam soon surpass the birds;
She gave him lovely Eve because
If he’d a wife they must have words.

And so the native land, I hold,
By male descent is proudly mine;
The language, as the tale hath told,
Was given in the female line.
And thus we see on either hand
We name our blessings whence they’ve sprung;
We call our country Father Land,
We call our language Mother Tongue.

— Samuel Lover

THE SQUIRREL.

“Squirrel, squirrel, brown and brisk,
High above me in the tree,
I can see you bound and frisk,
I can see you peep at me.

“Squirrel, squirrel, you can play;
Mer-rier beast is none than you;
Yet you are not only gay,
You are wise and mer-ry too.

You can play till summer’s o’er,
And the nuts come falling free,
Then to hoard your winter store
You are busy as a bee.

“Squirrel, squirrel, I would bound
Gai-ly at my sports as you,
And, like you, I would be found
Careful for the future too.”

— anonymous

KNOWLEDGE

What is more large than knowledge and more sweet;
Knowledge of thoughts and deeds, of rights and wrongs,
Of passions and of beauties and of songs;
Knowledge of life; to feel its great heart beat
Through all the soul upon her crystal seat;
To see, to feel, and evermore to know;
To till the old world’s wisdom till it grow
A garden for the wandering of our feet.


Oh for a life of leisure and broad hours,
To think and dream, to put away small things,
This world’s perpetual leaguer of dull naughts;
To wander like the bee among the flowers
Till old age find us weary, feet and wings
Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts.

–Archibald Lampman

AN IMPRESSION.

I heard the city time-bells call
Far off in hollow towers,
And one by one with measured fall
Count out the old dead hours;


I felt the march, the silent press
Of time, and held my breath;
I saw the haggard dreadfulness
Of dim old age and death.

— Archibald Lampman

“THE FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE EARTH.”

(SONG OF SOLOMON, ii. 12.)

Now the winter cold is past,
And blithe March winds are blowing,
In sheltered nooks we find at last
Bright flowers of spring are growing.

Along the hedge-row’s mossy bank,
Where ivy green is creeping,
We see through weeds and nettles rank
The dark-blue vi-o-let peeping.

And in the sunny garden beds
Gay aconites are showing,
And snowdrops bend their graceful heads,
And crocuses are glowing.

God makes the buds and leaves unfold,
All flowers are of His giving;
He guards them through the winter’s cold,
He cares for all things living.

–anonymous

THE DANDELION CLOCK

The dandelion blossoms gay
From the fields have passed away,
And in their place left heads of grey.

Now, Minnie, won’t it be good fun
For each of us to gather one,
And sit and blow them in the sun?

Very hard we both must blow,
And scatter all the seeds like snow,
That will be ‘one o’clock,’ you know.

— anonymous

The Borrow Pit

Just down river, a short distance from the dam,
There is a borrow pit, once filled with gravel and sand.
Now it’s a pond not too big, not too small,
Where I would run to fish when my friends would call.

There on the banks a contest would begin,
Champion trout verses novice fishermen.
The trout had the advantage, it was in his home court,
Every time I tried; I would end up a bit short.

One day the trout was a bit off his game,
I snared this warrior, my new claim to fame.
I held the trout tightly as I carefully removed the hook.
I looked him in the eyes as both hands of mine shook.

He seemed to say, “You got me this time.”
“We can do this again, if you let me off your line.”
So, back in the water I gently released this graceful foe,
He swam a few feet, turned to wink, then he would go.

The trout and I would meet many more times,
He became an old friend at the end of my line,
Sometimes I’d catch him, other times I wouldn’t get close.
My friend from the borrow pit, my most gracious host.

— Albert L Swope

“HOW IS THE WEATHER?”

Cold winter has come,
And the cruel winds blow—
The trees are all leafless and brown;
These two pretty robins,
Oh, where shall they go
To shelter their little brown heads from the snow?
Just look at the flakes coming down.

But see, they have found a snug shelter at last,
And hark, how they talk, while the storm whistles past:

Says Polly to Dicky,
“You’re nearest the door,
And you are the gentleman, too:
Just peep out and see
When the storm will be o’er;
Be-cause, if the weather’s as bad as before,
I think we will stay, do not you?”

–Anonymous

How Handsome Am I?

Look at me, everyone,
How handsome am I?
My fluffy fur coat is purr-fect,
It dazzles and shines!

Look at the way my ears stand tall,
My tail gives me balance, so I will not fall!
My whiskers and nose are perfectly aligned,
So I can sniff out food and treats to find!

My eyes glimmer green and they shine so brightly,
They help me to see in the dark at night!
My teeth are sharp and clenched to bite,
If I ever need to give someone a fright!

Everything about me has a purpose,
So I remind myself that I’m beautiful when I don’t feel worth it!
I am a proud cat, and I will stand tall,
Strong and beautiful, I will not fall!

Look at me everyone, how handsome am I?
I know that I am amazing, and I will not lie!
Don’t be afraid to be yourself; you are unique.
Let your true self shine!

But remember, it’s not all about beauty!
It’s what’s inside that counts too,
You are smart, kind, and funny.
So be proud to be handsome, be proud to be you!

— Albert L Swope

Yellowjacket Summer

It was finally summer, some fish needed to be caught,
So, I and the boys carried the poles that we brought.
Through the woods to the creek down the banks,
We knew those trout would never stand a chance.

But every time we neared the shore,
We’d slide down the bank with a terrible roar.
Somehow, we would land in a yellowjacket nest,
Arms went flailing, and I tore off my fishing vest.

Swatting and swinging mostly just air,
Occasionally our blows would hit some of them there.
They’d start floating downstream where the trout had a feast,
Even this could not stop us from having fun in the least.

We had plenty of bites but none from the fish,
They would never be part of that day’s picnic dish.
We’d tell mom we had “Yellow-Jacket Surprise,”
Which would be perfect with any of her pies.

Every summer, we’d return to that unlucky spot,
Determined this time, some fish would be caught.
And every time the yellowjackets would be there,
And sure enough, we’d land in the nest with a flare.

Looking back on those yellowjacket summers with friends,
Are wonderful memories that bring out a grin.
If we’ve known then, what we know now,
We’d have brought a small net with us somehow.

We would catch some yellowjackets flying about,
And use them for bait to catch us some trout.
It was already proven the trout loved the taste,
Then our pain from the stings would not go to waste.

Ahh, yellowjacket summers were always the best,
With friends and fishing, and yellowjacket nests.

— Albert L Swope