“My Masters and Companions, my Books”
[illustration: Rufus Hawtin Hathaway]
[2 blank pages]
OTTAWA LYRICS AND
VERSES for CHILDREN
The Thunder Bird
A Mark of Canadian Quality
ARTHUR S. BOURINOT
Author of Laurentian Lyrics, Poems,
Pattering Feet, &c.
THE GRAPHIC PUBLISHERS, LIMITED
BY ARTHUR S. BOURINOT
IN THE DOMINION OF CANADA
OTHER BOOKS BY
ARTHUR S. BOURINOT:
LAURENTIAN LYRICS, 1915—The Copp Clarke Co. Ltd.
POEMS, 1921—T. H. Best Co., Toronto.
LYRICS FROM THE HILLS, 1923—James Hope & Sons, Limited, Ottawa.
PATTERING FEET, A Book of Verse for Children, 1925, illustrated—The Graphic Publishers, Ottawa
THE FOLLOWING POEMS HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED
To the Ottawa River, in the Ottawa Citizen, Literary Digest and J.W. Garvin’s Canadian Poets.
Ottawa, in the Citizen (Ottawa) and the Anthology of Cities.
Trees After Snow, in The Goblin.
The Haunted House and the Meadow, and Kingsmere in Willison’s Monthly.
The World is Full of Beauty, Moonlight, The Swimmer, Val-Ombreuse, A Thousand years, On a
Picture by F. Brownell, R.C.A. and Wild Asters, in the Canadian Bookman.
The Canadian Confederation in the Winnipeg Free Press and the Ottawa Citizen.
The Heavens in February, in the Ottawa Citizen and World Wide.
Night, in the Mail and Empire, Toronto. [unnumbered page]
Colonel Sir Percy Sherwood, K.C.M.G., M.V.O., &c.
VERSES FOR CHILDREN
|ON PARLIAMENT HILL||52|
|WHEN I AM SICK||56|
|HER LITTLE SHOES||63|
|AROUND THE CAPE TO ZANZIBAR||66|
City of towers and turrets Upon the cliffs you dwell With spires that point to heaven And many a pealing bell. City of russet rivers, Their burden songs of thee, City of singing rivers That tramp down to the sea. City of falling waters, That turn the mills of man, Make room for other toilers, The dreamer, artisan. Remember that the mill wheel Sometimes grinds more than grain, Remember that thy children Are flesh and blood and brain. City with brow of beauty Turned to the hills of old, City with eyes untroubled Build with a vision bold. Build with a vision splendid, Build with a sense divine, Until immortal beauty Says proudly “Thou art mine.” [page 13] Until thy towers and turrets And spires that dream in space Stand as a mighty symbol The symbol of our race. City of towers and turrets Upon the cliffs you dwell With spires that point to heaven And many a pealing bell. [page 14]
THE HAUNTED HOUSE AND THE MEADOW
It’s set beside a meadow wild Amongst a thousand hills; The meadow listens like a child Whom some strange wonder stills. The whispering winds of dawn sweep by, The winds of night bow low; The meadow listening hears them sigh A haunting tale of woe. Some gnarled old apple trees are near, Twisted and black they stand, A little brook with hurried fear Hastes through the meadow land. The house stands spectre like and bare, A skeleton of beams; The windows gaze with vacant stare When the white moonlight gleams. Great shadows walk between the walls, Great shadows stalk the stair And hauntingly a soft voice calls “Who’s there, who’s there, who’s there?” [page 15]
TO THE OTTAWA RIVER
Great river flowing broad and free Around our city’s rock-hemmed base, O road that marches to the sea In powerful, rhythmic pulsing pace, I hear your voice majestically Above the strife of creed and place Chanting a nation’s minstrelsy, O lyric singer of our race. Bold voyageurs have braved thy stream Le Caron, Champlain, Verendrye, Discoverers driven by the dream A pathway to Pacific’s sky; Immortally your paddles gleam In unison you singing cry Old Chansons, and the waters seem Faint echoes when your voices die. Where Champlain stood and watched below The Chaudiere’s cauldron seethe and boil A city stands, where long ago The settler cleared and tilled the soil. The falls are harnessed and their flow Turns great wheels in their endless toil; By night the factory chimneys glow And vomit flames that writhe and coil. [page 16] Upon the cliffs the towers and spires Like legendary dream come true Limned in the sunset’s lingering fires Lift faint outlines toward the blue. The city sleeps that from our sires Visions and dreams in beauty grew, Fulfilment of their best desires, The city sleeps in sabled hue. Great river flowing broad and free Around our country’s massive heart, O silvery artery of the sea Singing great songs as you depart, Chant us your mighty minstrelsy Until your songs of wonder start Our dreams of immortality, Our country to a greater part. [page 17]
THE WORLD IS FULL OF BEAUTY
The world is full of beauty That stirs the heart of me, White limbed girlish birches Bathing nakedly; A yawning April Tulip A Pine tree’s winter stole, The speckles red trout spawning Upon a sunny shoal, All these are full of beauty That stirs the hearts of men, The ageless heart of Helen, Dies and is born again. The world is full of beauty That stirs the heart of me; The rushing of the cataract Straining to be free; Recurrent roar of rapids Beyond a river’s curve, The tossing mane of waters That test the arm and nerve; The tom-tom of the partridge Upon a pine tree stump, A white star hanging lonely Above a fir tree clump; O world so full of beauty That stirs the hearty of me, [page 18] The splendor of the heaven’s Galactic pageantry, The wisdom of the ages, May perish in time’s dust But beauty lives immortal Despite the years that rust. The world is full of beauty That stirs the heart of me The world is full of beauty And immortality. [page 19]
TREES AFTER SNOW
All silver traceried stand the trees, Nude maidens on a sculptured frieze, Whose white arms reach towards the sky And common supplication cry; And some crouch mute on bended knees The timid child-like shrubberies; The ancient Pines, scarce bent at all, Stand solemn at a funeral. And when their lord the sun appears And looks upon them while he leers, The maidens flee before his gaze And leave him sulking in a haze; So, naked, spectre-like, the trees, I’m sure that Death resembles these. [page 20]
THE HEAVENS IN FEBRUARY
Cold as the blade of a scimitar whirled Gleameth the moon’s white tenantless world Hanging on nothing, and speeding through space In the range where the constellations race Their unimaginable, mighty round, In clamourous tumult, but never a sound Breaks through the muffling belt of the earth To beat in our ears the galactic mirth Of the planets and spheres as they roll on their way Oblivious of earth and of night and of day. Glint of the spark from an iron shod hoof, Cradles aloft on the craterous roof Of the luminous moon, Venus, the star, Wanders aloof in her silvery car, Flashes and flames in the terrible skies, Inwrought and illumed with a million eyes, And cold of the night makes the vision clear Appalling the soul with unspeakable fear Of the unknown paths where the planets climb, And the immeasureable march of the infinite time. [page 21]
As I came down to Chelsea, The Kingsmere road along I saw the wild blue Asters In starry clusters throng The wayside and the meadows And stretching far away They crowded to the hill top A dwarfish milky way. Their round and star-like faces Were twinkling in the fields As do the constellations When day to darkness yields Or like the circled snow-flake Formed by the winter’s frost Their aureoled blue faces Were nodding zephyr tossed. As I came down to Chelsea Along the Kingsmere road, I saw the wild blue Asters Beside the way I strode, Blue mantling the meadows Faint morning mists they shone, Blue haze upon the hill side, Blue mantle of the dawn. [page 22]
THE KINGSMERE ROAD (AUTUMN)
The red and gold of the maples Paint patches on the hills Daubs on a painter’s palet Before the canvas fills. The tall grey stalks of the Mullein, Grey friars in dusty hoods, Trudge in a dull procession Toward the templed woods. Slender and white from the tree tops Points Chelsea’s gleaming spire; See, round the road’s next bending A maple tree on fire. [page 23]
Mere of my heart, I’ve seen you lie Blue as the blue of a summer sky; Mere of my heart, I’ve seen you still, Fallen asleep with the Whip-poor-will. Mere of my heart, I’ve watched you hush Thrill to the note of the Hermit Thrush; Mere of my heart, I’ve seen you cold, Burdened with planets and stars untold. Mere of my heart, I’ve watched you wake, Rise and the mist from your shoulders shake; Mere of my heart, I’ve seen you creep, Beneath the snows for your winter sleep. Mere of my heart, when earth was planned, God grasped you, drank, and then uncupp’d His hand, Blue hills sprang to hem you, lest you part, Mere of my heart, Mere of my heart. [page 24]
IMPRESSIONS IN THE HILLS
Here in the ancient hills where the snows lie deep Driven and drifted by the north wind’s might Here in the olden hills, mounded white in sleep, The wilderness lies silent as the night. Standing on the summit of the Meach lake hill, Far and wide around us all a mass of white, Standing gazing over God’s great window sill The panoramic beauty bursts upon our sight. Here in the ancient hills worn smooth by time, Beauty seems immortal, man’s life but a day, High on the uplands where the skiers climb Silence of the infinite holds eternal sway. Unto the ancient hills in the ages gone, Men e’er turned for wisdom, lifted tired eyes, High o’er the silent hills, watching for the dawn Saw some dreadful portent sweep across the skies. Here in the ancient hills where the snows lie deep Spirit of the universe bids the earth be glad; Here in the olden hills mounded white in sleep Eager leaps the heart exultant as a lad. [page 25]
AT THE EVENTIDE
A mocking bird in the Lilac tree Warbles and trills notes leisurely And the sun goes down in a fiery sea At eventide. A bat wings by haphazardly Sunlight touches the Poplars three As the last rays rocket slantingly At eventide. A warm wind rustles hushingly Blowing the breath from the Lilac tree And the shadows deepen somberly At eventide. The night comes walking silently The Moon in raiment silvery And a Hermit Thrush flutes hauntingly At eventide. [page 26]
O SUN OF MARCH SO SPLENDID
O sun of March so splendid Gliding with rhythmic ease Across the snows high drifted, Swift shod with golden skis; Superb you crest the hill-tops To plunge the valleys through, Sweep down the deep abysses Which once the eagles knew, Climb high the white uplands Where mortal skiers go, Your passage breaks no silence No track print mars the snow; You travel on unhindered, No distance bars the way. Your lodge the far horizon Your journey but a day. [page 27]
THE CANADIAN CONFEDERATION
Written on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, 1927.
Forged with a vision splendid, Cast with a faith sublime, Tried and finely tempered Upon the anvil Time. Land of the hundred peoples From far and wide they came Merged in the mighty cauldron, One people and one name. From sea to sea one people, By choice and name and deed, Great union of the spirit That sowed a nation’s seed. Fired with a common purpose, Dowered with a touch divine, This people will not perish Unless their faith decline. One creed above all others, One heart beat at the core, Fulfil the wondrous vision That linked them shore to shore. Remember that thy people Live not by bread alone, And that the dreamer’s spirit Outlasts the strongest stone. [page 28] Forget not that the ages Have touched the false with rust And that the Godless nations Lie prostrate in the dust. See with a sense prophetic Build for the years to be, Wrought on the forge of Wisdom, Awaits thy destiny. Forged with a vision splendid, Cast with a faith sublime Tried and finely tempered Upon the anvil Time. [page 29]
The earth is bathed in moonlight, The moonlit waters gleam, The pines are touched with silver White cones and needles gleam. White birches tall and slender Like nymphs and naiads stand Or sway along the water In rhythmic saraband. The world is bathed in moonlight, In moonlight sleeps the lake, The stars in milk white pageant Their magic courses take. The world is touched with splendour, A mystery and delight Takes hold upon the senses Beneath the hallowed night. The moon’s great silver galleon, Her prow lit by a star, Sails down a silver pathway To dock at wharves afar. [page 30]
Now these are the joys of the swimmer, The poise on the brink, then the spring, The plunge through the air, then the water That with exultation will fling Its arms in abandon about him And cooleth of caresses that cling. Then down with slow strokes to the bottom, The dim of the depth far below, The green of the shadowy water, The feel of the flesh with its glow, Swift urge of the strokes to the surface The heart with its hammering blow. Then out with quick strokes of the racer The face in the glistening flow, A rest with the eyes to the heavens Where argosies splendid and slow Blow by with slow winds to the sunset, White frigates of ages ago. Then back once again to the shore line, The warmth of the sun on the beach, The motionless drowse and the dreaming The sun with its far-burning reach, The gossamer haze on the mountains The lilt of the water’s low speech. [page 31] Oh, these are the joys of the swimmer, The poise on the brink and the glow, The coolth of the waters around him The veins with their maddening flow, The rush through the arms of the water The plunge to the shadows below. [page 32]
The river flows in shadow deep and somber Forebodingly close-crowded hill tops loom The stark rocks paint a deeper, darker omber, And shadow in the gloom. A great cane down the valleys slowly wheeling, A flapping shadow silently drifts by, A ponderous phantom from inferno stealing With raucous, squawking cry. A Flicker’s heavy rapping wakes the cavern, The phantom bird flaps ever on before, The knocking is a traveler at a tavern Who raps the midnight door. A cold wind blows from the mountains freezingly And clamps its icy fingers round the heart, A cold wind cold as the wind of destiny Bidding a soul depart. Our bark canoe glides swiftly through the fastness, Our paddles dip in unison along, A thousand eyes are watching from the vastness Where listeners hear no song. [page 33] But now ahead the hill’s huge arms unfolding The unrestrained river rushes out, The phantom bird the sunlight now beholding Flaps shadow-ward about. The river courses man-tossed like a stallion Released amongst the meadows and blue skies, And we fare on like some old Spanish galleon Bound on a high emprise. [page 34]
A THOUSAND YEARS
A thousand years from now the sun Will sink beyond these self-same hills, A thousand years when day is done The Loons will cry as evening stills. The Dragon Flies on jewelled wings Will seek their prey in zig-zag flight; The fish will plash their rippled rings Upon the lake that dreams to-night. Will Beauty then be less or more And life returned to simple things? A thousand years and Wisdom’s door May ope perchance to Science slings. What matters it a thousand years, With moccasined tread time marches on; What matters it? Our little fears And all our wonder will be gone. A thousand years and you and I Will be but dust upon the wind, And other lovers will descry Life’s beauty, else they will be blind. [page 35]
The hills have power to heal the burdened heart, Steadfast they stand, as stands the dauntless soul, Turmoil and weathering years they’ve watched depart, Their unconscious wisdom scorns time’s toll. [page 36]
O earth thy beauty is to me, Beauty of flower and bud and tree; The Painted Trillium’s nodding grace, The Lady Slipper’s puckered face, The Cardinal Flower burning red, The Indian Pipe’s pale ghostly head; All these, O earth, thy beauty sing, Beauty of flower and tree and wing. O earth thy loveliness to me Sings of Beauty’s sanctity; The wild red Lily’s burning stripes, The fringing of the Orchis’ pipes, The Fire-Weed where the fields were burned, The Blood-Root’s pale white face upturned; In these, O earth, thy sanctity, And Beauty’s immortality. [page 37]
The ancients named you God of War, O planet in the southeast sky, Resplendent as the lanterned spar Of some great ship whose light on high Pierces across the leagues of dark To catch the watching look-out’s eye, We mortals hail you from afar, As helmsmen hail the lighted bark. From tower and mountain, ships at sea, To throw the gates of knowledge wide, Men watch your matchless mystery As past their gaze you swiftly glide Speeding your unconcerned way, And try to trace what wonders bide Deep hidden many a century Behind the sun’s reflected ray. O men will question, gaze and ask, Probing the dark and unplumbed deep, To draw aside the covering mask Hiding the visions which they seek; And with a little knowledge won The generations forward creep To finish the Herculean task And wrest all wisdom round the sun. [page 38] The Martians on their older sphere At twilight when the sun goes down, Will see the evening star appear An emerald on an ebon gown, And they may praise the planet Earth, A jewel in the heaven’s crown, Or gaze with superstitious fear And wonder at its greater girth. But all man’s knowledge placed beside The overpowering heavens’ span Affirms the prophets when they cried The insignificance of man Who gropes for wisdom in the night, Despite a scientific plan, And dreams and wonders till the tide Conveys him onward, out of sight. O planet whom the ancients feared, Resplendent in the southeast sky, O weaver of old legends weird, We watch your flame-like ogre eye And ponder as you pass our sight If you and all the worlds will die Fast bound with ice and disappeared Whirled headlong through eternal night. [page 39]
THROUGH A TELESCOPE
The wondrous universe we watched one night And saw great suns with fiery oriflamme; Whirling a wheel of white encircling light Great Saturn swift into our vision swam. Orion strode with Sirius down the west, And fiery Betelgeuse burned brightly red The moon’s cold mountains loomed with caverned crest Deserted as lone city of the dead. Limpidly shone the silvery Pleiades, Clear as quartz pebbles in a crystal stream, The great star clusters swarmed like molten bees, And Aldebaran burned with ruddy beam. We saw the clustered constellations caught, Netted and gathered for the gaze of man, We visioned God’s vast amplitude of thought The immensity of the universe to plan. [page 40]
I am the spirit of night Who comes when the day has fled To the arms of the sun O’er the hills Of dream. I race With tireless, Unwearying tread ’Midst the stars and the spheres, Waving my black And ponderous wings Restlessly, Silently, Holding the old earth close to my breast, Breathing the winds on her lips, The dew on her hair, Dark in her eyes, Until she sleeps, Until she sleeps. I am the spirit of night Who slays the sorrow of men With silence and sleep From the hills Of dream. [page 41]
ON A PICTURE BY F. BROWNELL, R.C.A.
A road that leads into the distance dim, Long vista white of sunlit, sleigh-tracked snow. A patch of snow that bends a Pine-tree limb, A burst of sunlight from the overflow Of God’s great cup of fire, spills golden light Beneath the aisled trees: so drifts the sun Through some rose window, softened in its flight, To gild an old cathedral’s pillared dun— A road that leads the vision deep and far Between the evergreens of our white north, That beckons to the dreamer like a star, And urges, bids the traveler go forth. [page 42]
O where are you, beloved, This pallid autumn day? The white mists of autumn Are resting on the bay, The white mists of autumn— O white were you as they, O where are you beloved, This pallid autumn day? O where are you, beloved, Now gold has touched the wheat! And red leaves of autumn— O red thy lips and sweet, O where are you beloved Now gold has touched the wheat? O where are you, beloved, Now trees are gaunt and bare, And first snows of winter Are pelting through the air, The first snows of winter— O white were you and fair, O here are you, beloved, Now trees are gaunt and bare? [page 43] O where are you, beloved, Now April bursts the bud, And wanderlust of spring time, And passion at its flood, O where are you beloved, Now April bursts the bud? [page 44]
A VISION OF BEAUTY
Here in the cool of the deep, dim woods Where the Indian Pipes lift their pale phantom throats From the moist leaf mould, and the wild Orchids Pendant honey cups, pink as the skies of dawn, Peer through the gloom, their breath perfumed, exotic, Exhaling odours of the East, of Inde and Araby; Here where the Dog Rose flaunts its crimson petals And the berried Borealis strews the ground With a fairy carpet of broad green leaves, Here dwells the Spirit of Eternal Beauty. One day I spied her poised on the brink Of a lake that sleeps amongst the timeless hills; I watched; she poised herself then raised her white, Round arms and headlong plunged into the depths And the lake rippled, was still, and she was gone. So she vanished and all around was silence Save for a Loon that laughed with rident scorn. Tall, lithe and fair she was with full round breasts And firm that shone upon her form as shines The moon upon the breast of night; her hair Was brown as the river waters that wake The night with their murmur and rippled Down her back and round her breasts as though It loved to cling there nestling close to rest. The magic of the meadows touched her feet [page 45] Bidding them tread as trip the winds of dawn, And her eyes were haunted with the deep dark Of a pool in the wood where the shadows Lurk in the depths and an unknown light Shines like a white flower blooming in the night. Her voice was the far threnody the Thrush Thrills through the woods when the Dusk Star glows; Her lips were eager parted to greet life With rich laughter and love with the red warmth And clinging passion that fire the veins of youth. [page 46]
They’re opening parliament up on the hill, The soldiers are all dressed up for the drill. They’ve got scarlet coats and black busby caps And white are their belts and their shoulder straps. They’ve rifles and bayonets and everything, The band will be playing God Save the King. The Governor General will drive in to town His Lady beside him all in a silk gown. The horses will prance, the guns will go boom The members will meet in the parliament room. The governor General will talk to them there And then they’ll go out for a little fresh air. The soldiers will give him a royal salute Their guns will go bang, the whistles go toot. The Governor General will drive to the Hall Home will go everyone, soldiers and all. [page 51]
ON PARLIAMENT HILL
On Parliament Hill There’s a great big lawn And it’s so nice To play upon I often go there And run about And lie on the grass And loudly shout On Parliament Hill. On Parliament Hill Are policemen tall I’m not afraid Of them at all, For they speak to me And say “Hello” And I touch my cap Before I go From Parliament Hill. On Parliament Hill There’s a big black gun And climbing it Is such great fun, It never goes off, Never says “Boo,” [page 52] It only sits there Looking at you And Parliament Hill. On Parliament Hill There’s a great big clock It has big hands I’ve heard it talk And when it strikes five It’s time for tea So I run right home Quite cheerfully From Parliament Hill. [page 53]
When I went out this morning The lawn was wet with dew And on the grass were cob-webs And on the bushes too. The little silver circles Were spread out everywhere I think the spider’s laundry Was drying underwear. They hung upon the bushes, They waved upon the trees, And when I bumped a rose bush I found one on my knees. A million little spiders Had worked the whole night through And washed their silver clothing In drops of silver dew. And now they were a-drying Just everywhere about, Some spider’s to be married That must be it no doubt. And here’s her silver trousseau All drying in the sun, I’d love to see the wedding, My, wouldn’t it be fun! [page 54]
A funny little owl Sat upon a tree He looked at the moon And then he looked at me. He turned his little head, Wisely blinked his eye, He looked at the moon And then began to cry. “To whoo”! cried the owl “To who, To who, Too whee “It’s a lonely life, “Just sitting on a tree. “Too whoo”, cried the owl, “I wish I had a wife, “I’m not very fond “Of a bachelor’s life.” Just then another owl Perched upon the tree, They looked at the moon And then they looked at me. Then both the little owls Sitting on the tree Never saw the moon And didn’t look at me. [page 55]
WHEN I AM SICK
When I am sick and stay in bed And have a stuffed-up funny head, The doctor comes to see me then And pulling out his fountain-pen He writes some funny figures down And mother takes them down to town And brings a bottle with her back Just full of stuff that’s dark and black And gives it to me in a spoon And says I will be better soon. And then I lie in bed and see The pictures in the nursery And listen when the door bell rings And wonder what the post-man brings And hear the doors that bang and shut And mother gives me dolls to cut; My meals are brought me on a tray And when at night my prayers I say I thank God for the doctor’s stuff And whisper that I’ve had enough And tell him that I’m tired of bed And so much better in my head, To-morrow morning when I wake I’ll go downstairs and porridge take And ask him to bless sister Joan, And thank him for the chicken bone, And then I say good night to all An turn my face towards the wall And watch the shadows on the floor When someone passes by my door And then when I wake up again The sun looks through the window pane. [page 56]
I saw a water-fall to-day, The water tumbled down, It tumbled and tumbled It rumbled and rumbled And grumbled Past The town. I saw a water-fall to-day, The spray splashed everywhere, Came splashing and splashing And lashing and lashing And dashing Through The air. I heard a water-fall to-day, The water sang with glee, Went singing and singing And swinging and swinging And winging To The sea. [page 57]
I love to see the autumn leaves Come tumbling from the trees For some float down, In yellow gown And some upon the breeze Roam far and wide The country side And sail just where they please. I love to run beneath the trees Amongst the leaves so brown And hear them whish And hear them swish As I go down to town, About my feet Along the street I trail a silken gown. Sometimes I gather up the leaves And pile a great big heap Then strike a match And watch them catch At first the flames just creep, Slowly at first Then with a burst Jump and gallop and leap. [page 58] I love the smell of burning leaves, The air so white with smoke, Where’er you turn Big bon-fires burn With people giving a poke, Smoke in the air Smoke everywhere Yet nobody seems to choke. [page 59]
There’s a big red barn behind the house And it has big folding doors, When they’re open they flap like an elephant’s ears And it has big cracks in its floors. It’s so full of hay it bulges out From the windows near the top Till the horses eat it up with their appetites When it’s finished they have to stop. The swallows build their nests beneath the roof, Inside on beams above the hay The bats go to sleep with their heads upside down And say, it is the sensibilest way! The old red barn has moss on its roof And the paint’s worn off in spots, But it wears a smile on its jolly red face And thinks the happiest of thoughts. [page 60]
Bats are funny things For when they want to sleep They fold their wings And hang by their toes But why do they do it Nobody knows: Bats are funny things. Bats are funny things, They sleep the whole day long And use their wings To fly in the night, They say they can’t see But by candle-light: Bats are funny things. Bats are funny things, I’d be dizzy so high, With folded wings Hanging upside down Like a steeple-jack Above the town: Bats are funny things. Bats are funny things, They squeal just like the mice, Folding their wings They swing to and fro But why they do it I just don’t know: Bats are funny things. [page 61]
While walking one day in the forest I heard such a flutter of wings And there on the floor of the woodland Were scattering, scampering things. So I stood quite still for a moment And I soon saw what was to do, For I heard the cluck of a partridge And there were the little ones too! And they all came out from their hiding And ran to the old mother bird From every direction they hurried Their running was really absurd. And then when I moved in the forest They vanished again just like that, As quick as the rabbit, the Juggler, Makes vanish beneath his high hat. The old mother bird in the forest With a broken brown wing whirred away But of course I knew she was fooling And only afraid I would stay. So I wandered off in the forest Behind me I left mother bird And peace reigned again in the woodland And never a sound could be heard. [page 62]
HER LITTLE SHOES
I know nothing quite so sweet So winsome, touchingly complete, They give such magic to her feet; Her little shoes. She wears them round the house all day, And keeps them on when out at play, And wears them too, her prayer to say, Her little shoes. And when her prayers are softly said, Before she pillows down her head, She places them beside her bed, Her little shoes. She leaves them there so that at morn They are all ready to be worn, And I’m afraid they’re somewhat torn, Her little shoes. And when she wakes up with the dawn, She jumps from bed and puts them on, She’d cry to find her treasures gone, Her little shoes. By day they travel far and wide, She shows them to you with great pride, By night they watch her side by side, Her little shoes. [page 63]
I’m just a little, black Aberdeen pup With one ear down and the other ear up And my front two legs are very, very bowed Now, please, you mustn’t laugh, cause that’s how they growed: I’m black as a cinder from a choo-choo train, I’m not a bit proud and I’m not a bit vain, I have a nice voice but they call it a bark And I’m always ready for a romp or a lark, I keep my eyes open for a boot or a shoe To carry them off for a comfortable chew, For I’m just a little black Aberdeen pup With one ear down and the other ear up. [page 64]
Apples grow in orchards, As everyone must know, I’d like to own an orchard And watch the apples grow. I’d see their pretty blossoms That smell so very sweet And later small green apples But them I couldn’t eat. I’d lie amongst the grasses, I’d choose a spot you see, Where I could lie and catch them Ker-plumping from the tree. And then I’d lie and munch them Upon the soft green grass And up above the tree tops I’d see the birds that pass. And when they all were ripened I’d have a picking bee And pack them all in barrels Except the ones in me. And take them off to market And sell them one and all So no more in my orchard I’d hear the apples fall. [page 65]
AROUND THE CAPE TO ZANZIBAR
I made a raft of cedar logs And on it sailed away Around the cape to Zanzibar And off to far Cathay And ever and ever and ever so far Around the Cape to Zanzibar, Leading the life of a jolly tar, Sailing away, away. Quite suddenly there came a storm As black as black could be, The waves they rocked me high and low And drove me o’er the sea, The winds did blow and blow, so terribly did blow The waves they rocked me to and fro, Rocked me whether I liked it or no, Rolling across the sea. And when the storm went home to bed I hoisted sail again Around the cape from Zanzibar I sailed past Sunny Spain From ever and ever and ever so far Around the Cape from Zanzibar Speeding for home like a jolly tar Bound from the Spanish Main. [page 66]
I love to see the river All covered white with snow In winter it has roads on it Where people come and go, For the river’s Not a river In the winter. And sometimes on the river I see huge loads of hay Come up the road like beetles That crawl around in May, For the river’s Never running In the winter And sleighs go by to market With hens and pigs and eggs, I’ve seen the pig’s red noses And sometimes, too, their legs On the river That’s a river In the summer. And then, when comes the spring time, All suddenly one day, The ice breaks on the river, In big blocks floats away Down the river That’s a river Once again. [page 67]
I love to watch the Tickum And see his hands go round And bend my head and listen So I can hear the sound He makes as he goes travelling Around and round and round. His face is broad and jolly And yet he’s thin and lean I’m sure he must be hungry I wonder has he been In restaurants and dining rooms And eaten much ice cream? But Tickum’s young and speechless I’ve never heard him call Like dear old tall Grandfather Who stands against the wall, Upon the front stair landing And shouts the time to all. But some day Tickum’ll grow up And be a great big clock Who sits upon the mantle Where I can hear him talk [page 68] And looking down upon me Say all day long “tick tock!” And then when he is older Perhaps he’ll move upstairs And be an old grandfather Who stands and talks and stares— And watches me at bed time To see I say my prayers. [page 69]
Her little silver slippers Are like the crescent moon, Who walks the starry heavens In silver buckled shoon. Her little silver slippers Go dancing merrily As do the swift Sand Pipers That dance beside the sea. Her little silver slippers That grace her little feet Tread like the rain at even That patters down the street. Her little silver slippers Go pattering all day long, Till night comes, O so softly And stills their silver song. [page 70]
I like to walk on a rainy day And put my umbereller up And hold the handle while I stay Beneath it. I hear the rain on top of it It sounds like being in a tent And sometimes just a little bit Comes through it And Daddy says when I start to school And put my umbereller up I look just like a big toadstool Out walking. [page 71]
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