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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Children

My daughter read Longfellow this past week, which she hadn't been too enthused about because the poems are longer and of a more serious tone than those of A.A. Milne, Christina Rosetti, James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field and others from previous years.

Precisely why they are very much up my alley - I particularly loved Nuremberg, which I hope to experience first hand someday.

But this past week she read one that she told me she liked a lot. She asked if I wanted to hear it and I said I did. This is the one verse she read me:

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of snow.

How is it that a poet I don't even know can take a few words and describe the lingerings in my heart better than I myself can?

Oh to have words like that to tell!

Here is the rest of the poem, which is the scheduled poet for YR3 Term 3 on AO:

Children
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Come to me, O ye children!
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows
And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us
Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,
With the light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices
Have been hardened into wood,-

That to the world are children;
Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate
Then reaches the trunks below.

Come to me, O ye children!
And whisper in my ear
What the birds and wings are singing
In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,
When compared with your caresses,
And the gladness of your looks?

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

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