Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry Friday: Celia Thaxter's A Song of Spring


Celia Thaxter, New Hampshire’s own, died too young on her beloved Appledore Island in 1894. She left behind a rich trove of paintings, poems, essays, and gardening inspiration.

Here’s a digitized version of Celia’s book An Island Garden

The poem below appeared in St. Nicholas Magazine in March 1887. The second half is rarely reprinted these days, as didactic poetry for children is no longer popular. The first three stanzas, with their gleeful observation of the slow but certain spread of warmth across the land, still resonate, at least here in New England.


“Sing a song of Spring,” cried the merry March wind loud,
As it swept to the earth from the dark breast of the cloud,
But the windflowers and the violets were yet too sound asleep
Under the snow's white blanket, close folded soft and deep.

“Sing a song of Spring,” cried the pleasant April rain,
With a thousand sparkling tones upon the window pane,
And the flowers hidden in the ground woke dreamily and stirred,
From root to root, from seed to seed, crept swift the happy word.

“Sing a song of Spring,” cried the sunshine of the May,
And the whole world into blossom burst in one delightful day,
The patient apple trees blushed bright in clouds of rosy red,
And the dear birds sang with rapture in the blue sky overhead.

And not a single flower small that April's raindrops woke.
And not a single little bird that into music broke,
But did rejoice to live and grow and strive to do its best,
Faithful and dutiful and brave through every trials' test.
I wonder if we children all are ready as the flowers
To do what God appoints for us through all His days and hours,
To praise Him in our duties done with faithful joy, because
The smallest of those duties belong to His great laws.

O Violets, who never fret and say, “I won't!” “I will!”
Who only live to do your best His wishes to fulfill,
Teach us your sweet obedience that we may grow to be
Happy like you, and patient as the steadfast apple tree.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Write Sister, Diane, at Random Noodling.


Author Amok said...

I am laughing about this poem, thinking about my 14 year old, whose "smallest duty" is to get up in the morning. Most days he's like the flowers in this poem, "yet too sound asleep...close folded soft and deep."

Andy said...

Thanks for this reminder that spring is really here. Somewhere.

Mary Lee said...

Yup. I like the first three stanzas best!