Quote – A reader lives a thousand lives

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.

-– George R.R. Martin

Poetry – THE STREAM

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,
Alighting unafraid;
With sudden pipe
Awakes the dreaming shade.

So long ago!
Still, still my memory hears
Its silver flow
Across the sundering years,—
Its roses glow,
Ah, through what longing tears!

— Charles G. D. Roberts

THE EARTH AGE

On the caves of time
again they draw their lines
and circles. Earthmen. Born to prove
that they can reason and compute
a way to survive.

Now primitives in space,
they hunt with atom spears
the bright eye targets of the night,
and cry their mammoth victories
across the cosmic waste.

There they create anew
high mysteries and truths,
with satellites as shrines, and wire
the electronic brain they use
to command the light.

— Elizabeth Bartlett

O TO BE AN OSTRICH

O TO BE AN OSTRICH

The ostrich
like Shakespeare
believes there is nothing
good or bad
but thinking
makes it so.

All problems
he has found
by taking his head
out of the ground
and looking
for them.

The solving
obviously
is a matter of foot
going faster than thought
to avoid
being caught.

Such logic
of conscience
may well be envied—
for who can dispute
what can not be questioned
or proved?

— Elizabeth Bartlett

THE POPLAR FIELD

The poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view
Of my favorite field, and the bank where they grew:
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat;
And the scene where his melody charm’d me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

‘Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

— W. Cowper

SOLITUDE

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
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

— A. POPE.

THE FERN SONG

THE FERN SONG

Dance to the beat of the rain, little Fern,
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!

John Bannister Tabb

THE LOST DOLL

I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and white, dears,
And her hair was so charmingly curled.
But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
And I cried for her more than a week, dears,
But I never could find where she lay.

I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
Folks say she is terribly changed, dears,
For her paint is all washed away,
And her arms trodden off by the cows, dears,
And her hair not the least bit curled;
Yet for old sakes’ sake, she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.

— —Charles Kingsley

TO A BUTTERFLY

I’ve watched you now a full half hour
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless!—and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers:
Here rest your wings when they are weary,
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

—William Wordsworth

THE UNSEEN PLAYMATE

When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.

Nobody heard him and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he’s sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.

He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene’er you are happy and cannot tell why,
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!

He loves to be little, he hates to be big,
‘Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig;
‘Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin
That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.

‘Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed,
Bids you go to your sleep and not trouble your head;
For wherever they’re lying, in cupboard or shelf,
‘Tis he will take care of your playthings himself!

— Robert Louis Stevenson

Related References

THE RAINY DAY

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary!

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

— Henry W. Longfellow

The Boy Who Didn’t Pass

A sad-faced little fellow sits alone in deep disgrace,
There’s a lump arising in his throat, tears streaming down his face;
He wandered from his playmates, for he doesn’t want to hear
Their shouts of merry laughter, since the world has lost its cheer;
He has sipped the cup of sorrow, he has drained the bitter glass,
And his heart is fairly breaking; he’s the boy who didn’t pass.

In the apple tree the robin sings a cheery little song,
But he doesn’t seem to hear it, showing plainly something’s wrong;
Comes his faithful little spaniel for a romp and bit of play,
But the troubled little fellow sternly bids him go away.
All alone he sits in sorrow, with his hair a tangled mass,
And his eyes are red with weeping; he’s the boy who didn’t pass.

How he hates himself for failing, he can hear his playmates jeer,
For they’ve left him with the dullards—gone ahead a half a year,
And he tried so hard to conquer, oh, he tried to do his best,
But now he knows, he’s weaker, yes, and duller than the rest.
He’s ashamed to tell his mother, for he thinks she’ll hate him, too—
The little boy who didn’t pass, who failed of getting through.

Oh, you who boast a laughing son, and speak of him as bright,
And you who love a little girl who comes to you at night
With smiling eyes, with dancing feet, with honors from her school,
Turn to that lonely little boy who thinks he is a fool,
And take him kindly by the hand, the dullest in his class,
He is the one who most needs love, the boy who didn’t pass.

— Anonymous

Dandelion

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
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!

— Nellie M. Garabrant

Be Strong

Be strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle—face it; ’tis God’s gift.

Be strong!
Say not, “The days are evil. Who’s to blame?”
And fold the hands and acquiesce—oh shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name.

Be strong!
It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong.
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not—fight on! To-morrow comes the song.

— Maltbie Davenport Babcock