I know a stream
Than which no lovelier flows.
Its banks a-gleam
With yarrow and wild rose,
Singing it goes
And shining through my dream.
Its waters glide
Beneath the basking noon,
A magic tide
That keeps perpetual June.
There the light sleeps
Unstirred by any storm;
The wild mouse creeps
Through tall weeds hushed and warm;
And the shy snipe,
With sudden pipe
Awakes the dreaming shade.
So long ago!— Charles G. D. Roberts
Still, still my memory hears
Its silver flow
Across the sundering years,—
Its roses glow,
Ah, through what longing tears!
You never conquer a mountain. You stand on the summit a few moments; then the wind blows your footprints away.— Arlene Blum, US mountain climber
O TO BE AN OSTRICH
believes there is nothing
good or bad
makes it so.
he has found
by taking his head
out of the ground
is a matter of foot
going faster than thought
Such logic— Elizabeth Bartlett
may well be envied—
for who can dispute
what can not be questioned
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade
In winter, fire.
Blest, who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;— A. POPE.
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
THE FERN SONG
Dance to the beat of the rain, little Fern,— John Bannister Tabb
And spread out your palms again,
And say, “Tho’ the Sun
Hath my vesture spun,
He hath labored, alas, in vain,
But for the shade
That the Cloud hath made,
And the gift of the Dew and the Rain.”
Then laugh and upturn
All your fronds, little Fern,
And rejoice in the beat of the rain!
There’s a dandy little fellow,
Who dresses all in yellow,
In yellow with an overcoat of green;
With his hair all crisp and curly,
In the springtime bright and early
A-tripping o’er the meadow he is seen.
Through all the bright June weather,
Like a jolly little tramp,
He wanders o’er the hillside, down the road;
Around his yellow feather,
Thy gypsy fireflies camp;
His companions are the woodlark and the toad.
But at last this little fellow— Nellie M. Garabrant
Doffs his dainty coat of yellow,
And very feebly totters o’er the green;
For he very old is growing
And with hair all white and flowing,
A-nodding in the sunlight he is seen.
Oh, poor dandy, once so spandy,
Golden dancer on the lea!
Older growing, white hair flowing,
Poor little baldhead dandy now is he!
A fox looked at his shadow at sunrise and said, “I will have a camel for lunch today.” And all morning he went about looking for camels. But at noon he saw his shadow again—and he said, “A mouse will do.”— Khalil Gibran
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,— Albert L Swope
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.
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,— Albert L Swope
With friends and fishing, and yellowjacket nests.
It pools in the garden
and trickles down the driveway
drowning up earthworms
dripping from window frames
A bike in a puddle
near a baseball in the mud
turns to today’s flood
The young one peers
through the curtains and the trees
longing for a sunny day
for riding bikes and skinning knees
An ocean is drier
than this soggy morning,
the young one ponders,
as water keeps pouring
Hey there, kiddo,–Albert L Swope
Want your galoshes,
and your raincoat, too?
Down in a green and shady bed
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colors bright and fair!
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.
Yet there it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused its sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.
Then let me to the valley go,–Jane Taylor
This pretty flower to see,
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.
My dogs and I returned from the park, all crammed into the car,
We had not been gone for long, it’s really not that far.
My dogs saw them first, and then so did I,
New neighbors had moved in, we should stop to say hi.
We tried to go and meet them, but they never would stand still.
Running this way and that, they’re mouths they would fill.
You see, our new neighbors were a pair of light grey squirrels,
I called them Mr. & Mrs., for they seemed like a boy and girl.
They’d taken residence in our largest oak tree,
And seemed to be quite happy since the rent was free.
They seemed very friendly and wanted to play games,
Even though they were driving my dogs totally insane.
Mr. Squirrel would hit the ground, which got my dogs running,
He’d lead them on a wild chase, while Mrs. Squirrel was sunning.
Then he’d run across my roof, to tease my barking dogs,
And always made things worse, when Mr. squirrel took his jogs.
Down the tree and back up again, was Mr. Squirrel’s chosen path,
Putting the dogs in a frenzy, knocking over our bird bath.
I was not sure I liked my scampering new neighbors,
Things got interesting, at least that was in their favor.
Eventually, things would settle down, and Mr. & Mrs. would just watch,
They had settled into our oak tree’s strongest hollow notch.
I could watch them for hours running to and fro,
As they were settled in, I would not make them go.
I started liking them, which surprised even me,
So, Mr. & Mrs. new residence became our old oak tree.
When thinking about neighbors, they were not my first choice,
But I liked their gentle chirping, they really had so little voice.
I watched them run and jump, then scurry and scamper,
Climbing everything in sight, they were two happy campers.
The dogs got exercise, which they badly needed,
And I was entertained, my expectations far exceeded.
If you’re looking for new neighbors, you might give squirrels a try,–Albert L swope
They’re really quite amazing and some species even fly.
The conversations might not challenge your intellect,
But Mr. & Mrs. Squirrel we never will forget.
I know the song that the bluebird is singing,
Out in the apple-tree where he is swinging;
Brave little fellow, the skies may look dreary;
Nothing cares he while his heart is so cheery.
Hark! how the music leaps out from his throat,
Hark! was there ever so merry a note?
Listen awhile and you’ll hear what he’s saying,
Up in the apple-tree swinging and swaying.
“Dear little blossoms down under the snow,
You must be weary of winter, I know;
Hark, while I sing you a message of cheer;
Summer is coming and spring-time is here!
“Little white snowdrop! I pray you arise;–Emily Huntington Miller
Bright yellow crocus! come, open your eyes;
Sweet little violets, hid from the cold,
Put on your mantles of purple and gold;
Daffodils! daffodils! say, do you hear?—
Summer is coming and spring-time is here!”