Public Domain Poem for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: My Love by M. Hedderwick Browne


A Victorian poem titled "Mu Love," written by M. (Marie) Hedderwick Browne, and published in 1893. Here, the author compares the hardy personality of her love to various flowers and finds them wanting until she comes to the resilient and low-maintenance heather which she holds in high esteem. Here is how the poem goes:

I
My love is not like the rose,
Nor the languid lady-lily,
Nor the pansy, pensive-faced,
Nor the drooping "daffy-dilly."

II
She's not like the pale snowdrop,
Fears of frailty in us waking,
Nor the shrinking violet,
For the shade the sun forsaking.

III
I can only liken her
To the brave and bonnie heather --
Hardy, wholesome, and not made
For a hothouse or fine weather.

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Vintage Nature Poem for Crafts, Art Making, Scrapbooking or Card Making: Winter by Louise Bryant

A little-known, early 20th century poem written by journalist, activist and feminist Louise Bryant, entitled simply "Winter." Here is how it goes:

As inevitably
As the leaves fall,
So must the old
To bleak oblivion
Pass.

Shed no tear
For the dying year
Or that sublime decay
Which marks
The ignominious end
Of kings
And worn-out things.

Make way for spring!

While these look to be simple verses about nature on the surface, the words are also reflective of Bryant's socialist beliefs and Bolshevik sympathies. It is a beautifully illustrated poem, however, and would look lovely on a card. You are welcome to download the free high-res 6" x 9" @ 300 ppi JPEG without a watermark for your next craft, mixed media, scrapbooking or graphic design project here.

Portrait of Louise Bryant in 1913 by John Henry Trullinger (1870 - 1960)

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Inspiration from Vintage Nature: Robins on Icy Branches with a Rose in Full Bloom Amid Winter Snow


When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.
When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

At the end of the day it's about how much you can bear, how much you can endure.
Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.
Tabitha Suzuma, Forbidden

Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.
William Barclay

Antique Victorian Poem for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Song of the Bee by Nancy Nelson Pendleton


A whimsical poem about a garden friend, the helpful little bee. This is called "The Song of the Bee" and was written by Nancy Nelson Pendleton (1848 - 1902). It was originally published in the September 1897 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine. Here is how it goes:

Buzz, buzz, buzz
This is the song of the bee.
His legs are of yellow,
A jolly good fellow,
And yet a good worker is he.

In days that are sunny,
He's getting his honey;
In days that are cloudy,
He's hoarding his wax;
On pinks and on lilacs,
And gay daffodillies,
And columbine blossoms
He levies a tax.

Buzz, buzz, buzz!
The sweet-smelling clover
He humming hangs over;
The scent of the roses
Makes fragrant his wings;
He never gets lazy,
From thistle and daisy
And weeds of the meadow
Some treasure he brings.

Buzz, buzz, buzz!
From morning's first gray light
Till fading of day light,
He's singing and toiling
The summer day through,
Oh! we may get weary,
And think work is dreary;
'Tis harder by far
To have nothing to do.

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Inspiration from Vintage Nature: Caged Canary Longing to be Free


The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.
Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Public Domain Poem for Gardeners: A Very Wild Flower by Mildred Howells


A public domain Victorian children's poem written by Mildred Howells and originally published in 1896. The poem is called "A Very Wild Flower" and this is how it goes:

Within a garden once there grew
A flower that seemed the very pattern
Of all propriety; none knew
She was at heart a wandering slattern.

The gardener old, with care and pain,
Had trained her up as she should grow,
Nor dreamed amid his labor vain
That rank rebellion lurked below.

A name sufficiently high-sounding
He diligently sought for her,
Until he thought that "Rebounding
Elizabeth" he should prefer.

But when grown up the flower began
To show the tastes within her hidden;
At every chance quite wild she ran,
In spite of being sternly chidden.

They told her beds for flowers were best;
But daily greater grew her failings;
Up to the fence she boldly pressed,
And stuck her head between the palings.

Then to the street she struggled through,
Tearing to rags her silken attire,
And all along the road she grew,
Regardless quite of dust and mire.

You'll find her now by country ways,
A tattered tramp, though comely yet,
With rosy cheek and saucy gaze,
And known to all as "Bouncing Bet."

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Inspiration from the Vintage Garden: Victorian Girl in a Moment of Rest


It's a good idea always to do something relaxing
prior to making an important decision in your life.
Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

I'm simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I'm saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.
Osho

Spot that Plant: Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose'


Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
Russell Baker

Are you experiencing sweltering heat where you live? This has been a pretty crazy end of summer in our Zone 5B garden. Temperatures were in the chilly single-digits last week but headed higher into the high 20+ degrees this week (30C+ with humidity). While most of our blooms don't seem to know what to do with themselves (some are really leggy, some are very floppy, more than a few are leggy and floppy), the zinnias that I planted in late spring are thriving and trouncing almost every other plant in the late summer garden sweepstakes.

The flower images shown here are the Salmon Rose variety of Zinnia elegans from the Benary's Giant series. The Benary's Giant line of dahlia-like zinnias was developed by Ernst Benary Samenzucht, a 170-year old seed breeding company with an interesting history. Benary's Giants are truly ginormous (as my daughter likes to say), with flower heads ranging from 3 to 5 inches across, which are very ably supported by their sturdy stalks that stay upright without staking, something I can't assert about my dinner-plate dahlias (lying face down in the dirt even as I type). I haven't seen any pest activity on these beauties but this is only my first year of growing this type of zinnia so time will tell if they are as insect and disease-resistant as claimed. I think I will switch these superlative annuals around with my weak-stemmed, aphid-infested dahlias in the front yard next year, perhaps in a wider variety of colours and in greater numbers so I can also use them as cut flowers in the home.

Have you spotted any Benary's Giant zinnias in your neighbourhood or are you growing some? Share a photo or story in the comments below. :)


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Inspiration from the Vintage Garden: Victorian Girl Gathering Garden Flowers


It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness.
We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

When we are children we seldom think of the future.
This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can.
The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

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Joy of Walking: Victorian Lady in Blue Dress Strolling by the Shore


Among the changing months, May stands confest;
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed.
James Thomson

Limitless and immortal,
the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.
Heinrich Zimmer

They travel long distances to stroll along the seashore,
for reasons they can't put into words.
Edward O. Wilson

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Victorian Sheet Music and Vintage Nature Graphic for Crafts, Collage, Scrapbooking or Graphic Design: Bird with Spring Blossoms and Spring Bird Waltz


Hello, everyone. Two free graphics this morning:

(1) An illustration from one of my books on wild birds, published in 1901. This bird is called the chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), its name derived "...from the fancied resemblance of its notes to the words 'chiff chaff,' which are uttered with a quick, clear enunciation; the song is sweet and not unmelodious, and when alarmed the bird has a note of displeasure which sounds something like the word 'whoo-id' or 'whoo-it.'

...considered the earliest of our summer visitors, arriving in this country [England] sometimes in March, and remaining until October; indeed, of all small warblers, it is the first to come and the last to go."

Download the 4" x 6" @ 300 ppi JPEG here.

(2) A light-hearted dance tune called "Spring Bird Waltz" from the August 1, 1858 issue of Young Ladies' Journal. You can download this antique sheet music as a 4" x 6" @ 300 ppi JPEG here.

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: Mother by M.M.D.


A poem simply entitled "Mother" by M.M.D. (I suspect it is Mary Mapes Dodge), published in October 1877. This is how it goes:

Early one summer morning,
I saw two children pass:
Their footsteps, slow yet lightsome,
Scarce bent the tender grass.

One, lately out of babyhood,
Looked up with eager eyes;
The other watched her wistfully,
Oppressed with smothered sighs.

"See, mother!" cried the little one,
"I gathered them for you?
The sweetest flowers and lilies,
And Mabel has some too."

"Hush, Nelly!" whispered Mabel,
"We have not reached it yet.
Wait till we get there, darling,
It isn't far, my pet."

"Get where?" asked Nelly. "Tell me."
"To the church-yard," Mabel said.
"No! no!" cried little Nelly,
And shook her sunny head.

Still Mabel whispered sadly,
"We must take them to the grave.
Come, darling?" and the childish voice
Tried to be clear and brave.

But Nelly still kept calling
Far up into the blue;
"See, mother, see, how pretty
We gathered them for you."

And when her sister pleaded,
She cried -- and would not go: --
"Angels don't live in church-yards,
My mother don't, I know."

Then Mabel bent and kissed her.
"So be it, dear," she said;
"We'll take them to the arbor
And lay them there instead."

"For mother loved it dearly,
It was the sweetest place!"
And the joy that came to Nelly
Shone up in Mabel's face.

I saw them turn, and follow
A path with blossoms bright,
Until the nodding branches
Concealed them from my sight;

But still like sweetest music
The words came ringing through;
"See, mother, see, how pretty
We gathered them for you."

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Vintage Nature Illustration for Inspiration: Invited Guests or Young Lady with Wild Swans


“The river is such a tranquil place, a place to sit and think of romance and the beauty of nature, to enjoy the elegance of swans and the chance of a glimpse of a kingfisher.”
Jane Wilson-Howarth, Snowfed Waters

We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.”
Joseph Campbell, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

Art for Inspiration: The Bird Charmer by Léon Bazille Perrault

The Bird Charmer, 1873
by Léon Bazille Perrault (1832 – 1908)

Happy who for a season may
Absent themselves on buoyant wing!
The birds that Winter drives away
Will surely come again with Spring.
They of our ills will mindful be,
And when at length the storm has passed,
They will return to this same tree
Which has so often felt the blast.
Then to our fertile vale will they
A more auspicious presage bring!
The birds that Winter drives away
Will surely come again with Spring.
Pierre-Jean de Béranger, The Birds (translated from the French by Percy Reeve)

Public Domain Poetry for Kids: Cheery Robin by B. Lander (Victorian Children's Poem)

Image source: Wikimedia

The following is a public domain Victorian children's poem written by B. Lander and originally published in 1880. The poem is called "Cheery Robin" and this is how it goes:

Robin in the April time
Blithely sings of summer prime,
Every mellow note outwelling
Sweetly telling of his glee;
How his merry carol rings!
As he sings,
In the budding April time, -- Cheerily!

Robin in the summer prime,
What cares he for autumn rime!
Present care and present pleasure
Fill the measure of each day;
And his merry carol rings,
While he sings,
In the golden summer prime, -- Cheerily!

Robins in the autumn rime
Singeth of a sunny clime,
Where the bowers glow with flowers,
Where the hours brim with glee.
Still his merry carol rings!
Still he sings,
In the chilly autumn rime, -- Cheerily!

Robin to the aged Year
Sings a parting note of cheer;
Happy heart of sunshine, Robin,
Ever throbbing merrily.
Sweet contentment Robin brings,
When he sings,
With a cadence loud and clear, -- Cheerily!

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Public Domain Vintage Poem: In Daisy Days by Mary Elizabeth Blake

Picking Daisies, 1905 (sometimes also referred to as "Picking Wildflowers")
by German artist Hermann Seeger (1857 - 1945)

Below is a poem called "In Daisy Days," written by Mary Elizabeth Blake. Mrs. Blake's admirers included Theodore Roosevelt and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the latter of whom wrote of her: "You are one of the birds that must sing." "In Daisy Days" was published June 1902 and goes like this:

Suns that sparkle and birds that sing,
Brooks in the meadow rippling over,
Butterflies rising on golden wing
Through the blue air and deep-red clover,
Flower-bells full of sweet anthems rung
Out on the wind in lone woodland ways --
Oh, but the world is fair and young
In daisy days!

Lusty trumpets of burly bees
Full and clear on the sweet air blowing;
Gnarled boughs of the orchard trees
Hidden from sight by young leaves growing.
Scars of the winter hide their pain
Under the grasses' tangled maze,
And youth of the world springs fresh again
In daisy days.

Down in the valley and up the slope
Starry blooms in the wind are bending;
Glad eyes shine like the light of hope,
Comfort and cheer to the dark earth lending.
Buoyant with life they spring and soar
Like the lark that carols his matin lays,
Climbing to gates of heaven once more
In daisy days.

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Places to Walk: Signs of Spring at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden


In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
Mark Twain

Well, yesterday was a wild one, weather wise. Rain, slush, a smattering of snow that I thought was going to turn into hail... Yet somehow, I felt more cheerful than I would have even if I had encountered the same conditions a month and a half ago (when I thought winter would never end).

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
Doug Larson

No kidding, Doug! Isn't spring wonderful? Here are a couple of shots of emerging peony shoots at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden that I took last year. I haven't been back there yet to take pictures of them this year because it's been so wet and windy but I think I might just try today. The sun is out and I feel like whistling as I meander down some peony paths...



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Art for Inspiration: A Student of Nature by Linnie Watt

The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.
Natalie Angier

The above painting is titled "A Student of Nature” and it was painted in 1877 by Linnie Watt, a British artist who was active from 1874 to 1908. A contemporary art critic of her time, Cosmo Monkhouse, wrote this of Miss Watt's style: "Much that is characteristic of the tender beauty of woodland and meadow she has learnt how to suggest with a simple expressive touch specially suited to her materials and the decorative character of her work. I would have named her amongst the artists of landscape but for her figures, and amongst the figure-painters but for her landscapes. But it is impossible to divorce one from the other, for the figures are not "introduced," but seem to form an organic part of her conceptions." - from The Magazine of Art, Vo. 7, p. 249.

I simply love the luxuriant abandon of wildflowers. Isn't it wonderful when you stumble upon a patch when you are walking along? Here is a spot with a jumbled array of goldenrod and purple loostrife that I came across a couple of summers ago at Rotary Park in Ajax, Ontario.


Do you have a favourite spot to go where wildflowers grow? If you have any pictures, feel free to share in the comments below.

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: An April Song by an Unknown Author


From 1881, here is a Victorian poem called "An April Song" by an unknown author. Accompanying the poem is a decorative border with an illustration of a blossoming tree and various spring flowers plus a scattering of assorted planting paraphernalia in the garden. The poem goes as follows:

Earth's heart with gladness glows again,
Gone is all wintry gloom;
The sun peeps through my lattice-pane,
And fills my little room
With life divine, and bids me fly
My books and pens awhile,
To wander forth beneath a sky
That wears an April smile.

Old loves at every step I meet,
Sweet fragrance fills the air;
Such songs of praise that birds repeat,
As move my soul to prayer.
E'en primrose clusters on the banks,
And violets nesting low,
To Him uplift a look of thanks,
From whom all blessings flow.

The hyacinth hangs her languid head,
And waits the gentle May,
Now drawing near with noiseless tread,
To kiss her tears away;
The fields with daisies are besprent,
As white as flakes of snow;
And from the whispering woods are sent
Joy-murmurs, soft and low.

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: A Spring Morning by Anne Beale


From 1880, here is a Victorian poem on aged paper entitled "A Spring Morning" by Anne Beale. Accompanying the poem is a decorative border with an illustration of flower pickers in early spring gathering flowers in the open fields surrounding a big house. There is also a posy of spring flowers embellishing the foreground. The poem goes as follows:

How joyfully the heart doth ring
A merry peal of pleasure
At the nativity of spring,
And the earth's renewing treasure!
How the thoughts leap up, welcoming
The gladsome vernal measure!

The squirrel, in his wild delight,
From branch to branch is springing;
The warbling lark her homeward flight
In ecstasy is winging;
While every mead and grove and height
With joyous song is ringing.

The snowdrop from her winter rest
Is joyously awaking;
The merry primrose bares her breast,
A fill of pleasure taking;
The violet, from her mossy nest,
In loveliness is breaking.

Wandering 'neath the cloudless sky,
The children shout for gladness,
And deem the sun's enkindling eye
An antidote for sadness;
Then would not murmuring needlessly
Be even worse than madness?

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: Each In His Place by Caris Brooke


A Victorian poem from 1893 by Caris Brooke called "Each In His Place." The verses are accompanied by an illustration of a pair of birds up in their nest, snugly anchored to a branch of flowering apple blossoms. Here is how it goes:

Bird, sitting there in the bright sun's ray,
You do nothing but sing all the summer's day,
While I have my lessons to learn.
Now leave your perch on that blossoming spray,
Give me your wings, and in my place stay,
Till I return.

Oh, to fly so far! Oh, to soar so high!
Till I find the gold door in the bright blue sky,
And the way that leads me to the moon;
Then good-bye to lessons, to sums good-bye,
Don't expect me back when I've learned to fly --
At least not soon.

For answer, the bird's song seemed to say,
"Will you do my work while I am away?
Do you know how to build a nest?
Feathers and wool, and dry moss and hay --
Can you fit them in, and make them stay,
If you did your best?

"You must never leave it to romp and play;
You must sit quite still the whole long day,
And not stir a peg.
And before you go, will you kindly say,
If, while you're there, you'll be sure to lay
A little blue egg?"

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Public Domain Antique Poem: An Open-Air Hymn by Beatrice Hanscom


A poem of thanksgiving for nature's gifts published in July 1904. The decorative border of various flowers was drawn by the artist and illustrator, Henry McMaster. Here is "An Open-Air Hymn" written by Beatrice Hanscom:

Not for rich gifts of gold or gems,
Not for the gauds but few afford,
But for thy sunshine, pure and free,
I thank thee, Lord.

For those deep draughts of air I quaff
When, shoulders squared and blood aglow,
I swing along the country road
Where daisies blow.

And in the sultry noonday heat,
For wayside rest, lulled by the breeze,
As, shaded by the sheltering oak,
I take my ease.

For every winding forest-path,
For every stretch of sedge and sea,
For every pebbly brook that rills
Its song of glee.

For that glad radiance when the sun
His crimson cloud of glory spills,
For every violet mist that veils
The distant hills.

For every bloom the summer brings,
For every sheaf the harvest binds,
For spring's first bud, for winter's snow
And bracing winds,

For these thy gifts -- for earth and sky
Mingling their moods in sweet accord,
For health, and for the seeing eye,
I thank thee, Lord.

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Poetry for Kids: Apple-Tree Hall by Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald (Public Domain Children's Poem)


Here is an antique children's poem of nature and imagination by Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald, published in the October 1910 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.

APPLE-TREE HALL

There's an old spreading apple-tree, gnarly and wide,
In an orchard (I can't tell you where),
Where Dora and I can curl up side by side,
And nobody know we are there.
We go there on Saturdays, -- that's if it's fine,
And Mother is willing, and all, --
Take our dolls and our dishes, and there we keep house
Till tea-time, in Apple-Tree Hall.

There's the loveliest carpet, all wood-brown and gray,
And the walls have a pattern of green;
The windows are curtained the coziest way
That ever was thought of or seen;
And as for the ceiling, it's blue as the sky;
And we've crimson globe-lamps in the fall --
In the spring we have pink, and in summer use none
(Such a saving!), in Apple-Tree Hall.

All the neighbors are charming, -- so musical, too!
Madam Thrush has a voice like a bird,
And the love-songs she sings (in Italian, I think)
Are the sweetest we ever have heard.
Then the dryads and wood-nymphs dwell close to us, too,
Though they are too bashful to call.
The society really is quite the best
When we're living at Apple-Tree Hall.

Oh, I wish I could tell you one half of our plays,
And the fine things we plan when we're there,
Of the books that we'll write and the deeds that we'll do
In the years that wait, shining and fair.
My mother says, sometimes, -- and so does Aunt Kate, --
That these are the best days of all;
But we think it's just the beginning of fun,
Keeping house here in Apple-Tree Hall!

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: Spring Song by S. F. Flin

Windflowers, 1903 (sometimes also referred to as "Windswept")
by John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

Below is a Victorian poem by S.F. Flin called "Spring Song" that was originally published in the April 1860 issue of Godey's. I thought it seemed to fit well with the image above.

The Spring is drowsy and numb with cold,
Her hair is sodden and dank with rain,
Her garments are faded and tattered and old,
She never will dance and laugh again.

The robin is trying to make her smile
Sometimes, with a flutter and timid shout;
And there seems a gleam on her cheek awhile,
When through trailing vapor the sun peers out.

But she only opens a dull, blue eye,
And giveth a shuddering sigh of pain;
She has only wakened, alas, to die!
She never will dance and laugh again.

Behold! thou prophet, false and fond --
Who is it tripping adown the dale?
Who is it has sprinkled the hill beyond
With tufts of the liverwort blossom pale?

She has planted cowslips along the brook,
Has wandered the thickets of hazel through,
And into each sly and sunlit nook
She has flung a cluster of violets blue.

She has hung the willow with tassels fine,
She has painted the buds of the hickory,
And the robin is drunk with the draught divine
Of her breath in the blossomy cherry-tree.

Ha! ha! 'tis she, with her sweet, old smile,
Her tresses tossed by the breezy South;
One rosy, silk, soft hand, the while,
Scaring the bees from her honeyed mouth.

Dancing her chaplet above her eyes,
Laughing over the emerald plain --
Ha! ha! I knew she would waken and rise,
Laughing and dancing and singing again.

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Poetry for Kids: The Winter Queen by Lucy Fitch Perkins (Public Domain Children's Poem)


This little poem by Lucy Fitch Perkins is entitled "The Winter Queen" and was originally published in the December 1904 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine. I believe the illustration that accompanied the poem was also drawn by Mrs. Perkins, based on the signature of the artist in the bottom right corner. The two short stanzas read:

Oh, have you seen the Winter Queen
In her robe of filmy lace,
With her shining crown and her cloak of down
And her gentle dreaming face?

The flowers love her, for a snow-white cover
To keep them warm she brings.
She tucks them around, with a crooning sound,
And they fall asleep as she sings.

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All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.