Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Horse

A sparrow hopped about the street,
  And he was not a bit afraid;
He flew between a horse's feet,
  And ate his supper undismayed:
I think myself the horse knew well
  The bird came for the grains that fell.

For his eye was looking down,
  And he danced the corn about
In his nose-bag, till the brown
  Grains of corn were tumbled out;
And I fancy that he said,
  "Eat it up, young Speckle-Head!"

The driver then came back again,
  He climbed into the heavy dray;
And he tightened up the rein,
  Cracked his whip and drove away.
But when the horse's ribs were hit,
  The sparrow did not care a bit.

What The Snake Saw

A little girl and a big ugly man
  Went down the road. The girl was crying
And asking to go home, but when she ran
  He hit her on the head and sent her flying,
And called her a young imp, and said he'd break
  Her neck unless she went with him, and then
He smacked her on the cheek.—I was a snake
  At that time crawling through a robber's den,
And diamonds were sticking to my tongue—
  (That's the best dodge), but when I saw the way
He beat the little girl I up and flung
  A stone at him. My aim was bad that day
Because I hit the girl ... and she did sing!
But he jumped round and cursed like anything.

The Old Man

An old man sat beneath a tree
So still was he
  That, if he had been carved in stone,
He could not be
  More quiet or more cold:
He was an ancient man
  More than
A thousand ages old.

The Cow

          Cow, Cow!
          I and thou
Are looking at each other's eyes
You are lying on the grass
Eating every time I pass,
And you do not seem to be
Ever in perplexity:
You are good I'm sure, and not
Fit for nothing but the pot:
For your bearing is so kind,
And your quietness so wise:
          Cow, Cow!
          I and thou
Are looking at each other's eyes.

The Coral Island

His arms were round a chest of oaken wood,
  It was clamped with brass and iron studs, and seemed
An awful weight. After a while he stood
  And I stole near to him.—His white eyes gleamed
As he peeped secretly about; he laid
  The oaken chest upon the ground, then drew
A great knife from his belt, and stuck the blade
  Into the ground and dug. The clay soon flew
In all directions underneath a tree,
  And when the hole was deep he put the box
Down there, and threw the clay back cunningly,
  Stamping the ground quite flat; then like a fox
He crept among the trees.... I went next day
  To dig the treasure up, but I lost my way.

The Turn of the Road

I was playing with my hoop along the road
  Just where the bushes are, when, suddenly,
There came a shout.—I ran away and stowed
  Myself beneath a bush, and watched to see
What made the noise, and then, around the bend,
  I saw a woman running. She was old
And wrinkle-faced, and had big teeth.—The end
  Of her red shawl caught on a bush and rolled
Right off her, and her hair fell down.—Her face
  Was awful white, and both her eyes looked sick,
And she was talking queer. "O God of Grace!"
  Said she, "where is the child?" and flew back quick
The way she came, and screamed, and shook her hands;
  ... Maybe she was a witch from foreign lands.

April Showers

The leaves are fresh after the rain,
  The air is cool and clear,
The sun is shining warm again,
  The sparrows hopping in the lane
Are brisk and full of cheer.

And that is why we dance and play,
  And that is why we sing,
Calling out in voices gay,
  We will not go to school to-day
Or learn anything:

It is a happy thing, I say,
  To be alive on such a day.

The Secret

I was frightened, for a wind
  Crept along the grass to say
Something that was in my mind

Something that I did not know
  Could be found out by the wind,
I had buried it so low
  In my mind.

Behind the Hill

Behind the hill I met a man in green
  Who asked me if my mother had gone out?
I said she had. He asked me had I seen
  His castle where the people sing and shout
From dawn to dark, and told me that he had
  A crock of gold inside a hollow tree,
And I could have it.—I wanted money bad
  To buy a sword with, and I thought that he
Would keep his solemn word; so, off we went.
  He said he had a pound hid in the crock,
And owned the castle too, and paid no rent
  To any one, and that you had to knock
Five hundred times. I asked, "Who reckoned up?"
  And he said, "You insulting little pup!"


And then I wakened up in such a fright;
  I thought I heard a movement in the room
But did not dare to look; I snuggled right
  Down underneath the bedclothes—then the boom
Of a tremendous voice said, "Sit up, lad,
  And let me see your face.
" So up I sat,
Although I didn't want to. I was glad
  I did though, for it was an angel that
Had called me, and he said, he'd come to know
  Was I the boy who wouldn't say his prayers
Nor do his sums, and that I'd have to go
  Straight down to hell because of such affairs.
... I said I'd be converted and do good
  If he would let me off—he said he would.

The White Window

The moon comes every night to peep
  Through the window where I lie,
And I pretend to be asleep;
  But I watch the moon as it goes by,
And it never makes a sound.

It stands and stares, and then it goes
  To the house that's next to me,
Stealing on its tippy-toes,
  To peep at folk asleep maybe;
And it never makes a sound.

The Wood of Flowers

I went to the Wood of Flowers
  (No one was with me);
I was there alone for hours.
  I was happy as could be
In the Wood of Flowers.

There was grass on the ground,
  There were buds on the tree,
And the wind had a sound
  Of such gaiety,
That I was as happy
  As happy could be,
In the Wood of Flowers.

A Visit from Abroad

A speck went blowing up against the sky
  As little as a leaf: then it drew near
And broadened.—"It's a bird," said I,
  And fetched my bow and arrows. It was queer!
It grew up from a speck into a blot,
  And squattered past a cloud; then it flew down
All crumply, and waggled such a lot
  I thought the thing would fall.—It was a brown
Old carpet where a man was sitting snug
  Who, when he reached the ground, began to sew
A big hole in the middle of the rug,
  And kept on peeping everywhere to know
Who might be coming—then he gave a twist
  And flew away.... I fired at him but missed.

The Devil's Bag

I saw the Devil walking down the lane
Behind our house.—There was a heavy bag
Strapped tightly on his shoulders, and the rain
Sizzled when it hit him. He picked a rag
Up from the ground and put it in his sack,
And grinned and rubbed his hands.
There was a thing
Moving inside the bag upon his back—
It must have been a soul! I saw it fling
And twist about inside, and not a hole
Or cranny for escape! Oh, it was sad!
I cried, and shouted out, "Let out that soul!"
But he turned round, and, sure, his face went mad,
And twisted up and down, and he said "Hell!"
And ran away.... Oh, mammy! I'm not well.

Day and Night

When the bright eyes of the day
  Open on the dusk, to see
Mist and shadow fade away
  And the sun shine merrily,
Then I leave my bed and run
  Out to frolic in the sun.

Through the sunny hours I play
  Where the stream is wandering,
Plucking daisies by the way;
  And I laugh and dance and sing,
While the birds fly here and there
  Singing on the sunny air.

When the night comes, cold and slow,
  And the sad moon walks the sky,
When the whispering wind says "Boh,
  Little boy!" and makes me cry,
By my mother I am led
  Home again and put to bed.

In the Orchard

There was a giant by the Orchard Wall
  Peeping about on this side and on that,
And feeling in the trees: he was as tall
  As the big apple tree, and twice as fat:
His beard was long, and bristly-black, and there
  Were leaves and bits of grass stuck in his hair.

He held a great big club in his right hand,
  And with the other felt in every tree
For something that he wanted. You could stand
  Beside him and not reach up to his knee
So mighty big he was—I feared he would
  Turn round, and trample down to where I stood.

I tried to get away, but, as I slid
  Under a bush, he saw me, and he bent
Far down and said, "Where is the Princess hid?"
  I pointed to a place, and off he went—
But while he searched I turned and simply flew
  Round by the lilac bushes back to you.

Breakfast Time

The sun is always in the sky
  Whenever I get out of bed,
And I often wonder why
  It's never late.—My sister said
She did not know who did the trick,
  And that she did not care a bit,
And I should eat my porridge quick.
  ... I think it's mother wakens it.

The Cherry Tree

Come from your bed my drowsy gentleman!
  And you, fair lady, rise and braid your hair,
And let the children wash, if wash they can;
  If not, assist you them, and make them fair
As is the morning and the morning sky,
  And every tree and bush and bird in air.

The sun climbed on the heights three hours ago,
  He laughed above the hills and they were glad;
With bubbled pearl he made the rivers flow
  And laced their mists in silver, and he clad
The meads in fragrant pomp of green and gold,
  And bade the world forget it had been sad.

So lift yourself, good sir! and you, sweet dame,
  Unlash your evening eyes of pious grey;
Call on the children by each loved name,
  And set them on the grass and let them play;
And play with them a while, and sing with them
  Beneath the cherry bush a roundelay.