Alice Helen Collins
Friends, and Other Verses

[handwritten: Katie

                             With my love

                                 & best wishes


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     and other verses


Alice Roger Collins

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The Task










A Thought


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When spring in dainty garb of green,

        Comes gaily dancing in,

Each bursting bud, each singing bird,

        Seems eager to begin

To tell of all the glorious boons

        That life forever sends:

Wealth, Beauty, Happiness and Health,

        But best of all are friends.

Summer and Autumn laden are

        With happy thoughts and days.

In summer Heaven sends us flow’rs;

        In Autumn, through the haze

Or air sweetened by leafy smoke,

        This thought—“Much joy depends

On travel, books, and music too

        But best of joys are friends.”

And now the winter snows are here.

        All softly fall the flakes

Of wondrous shapes, and fair designs.

        Each thing in nature makes

My heart rejoice, because I know

        That joys can never end

For, through the years that are to come,

        I’ll have you for my friend. [page 5]

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Here, in the heart of woods

        I sit alone.

Needles of pine lie thick upon the rocks

       And give a sweet fine smell.

Oak, cedar, and sumac in rich profusion grow;

Mosses and lichens, on great boulders, give an opal glow;

And, where the sun slants in between the branches,

Myriads of merry insects flutter, and flit, and hum.

A stray wasp adds its thrum.

This is the orchestra of summer’s later days—

       The wasp—the horn,

While the gay grasshopper,

        Skipping from blade to blade, where grassy plots are seen,

Pauses——And lets us hear him drone

        Upon his droll bassoon.

And everything in nature

Seems to be part of one great symphony

Its title “Sweet Content.” [page 7]

I, too, would join this minstrelsy—

       But, when I try to sing,

       Each sound gives but a hollow ring.

Why is this? Can you not guess?

       This question answer true—

How shall I sing to Sweet Content

       When all I want is You? [page 8]


A rippling wavy stretch of blue—

        Then, dark above, myriads of stately bulrushes

        Standing like sentinels,

        Uniformed, erect, untired.

Higher than these the cedars

        Growing in fragrance luxuriantly—

Above, and over-topping all,

        The sky, blushing from farewell kisses of the sun,

        In tints of pink, mauve, green—

Ducks float lazily upon the lake—

       Gulls, white and beautiful,

                  Soar in the opal dome—

Yonder, the great blue heron

       Takes his measured flight

       To his loved home upon the

Tall pine tree—

The only sound——

The chuff-chuff of the engines as our

                   boat goes puffing on. [page 9]

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A task was giv’n to me—

       So trivial it seemed

I was inclined to shirk,

       And ask, “Why must this be?”

From out my casement, streamed

       A light upon my work;

And, through the task so low and mean,

       A great Soul—Truth has gleamed. [page 11]

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There are days that open glorious

With the sun pouring his radiance

                     Over each act

                     And scene—

The clouds, fleecy and white,

                     Float high above;

Flowers, bending in the wind,

Whisper caressingly that care and worldly fret must banished be—

But still our hearts do not respond,

For something lies beneath both toil and play

       That robs our day of joy.

But this day has been perfect!

Rising in the morning

        With the joy of your Presence pervading all,

I have thrilled with exquisite rapture

       At all beauty in Nature—

For all this beauty

    Is but the evidence of You. [page 13]

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Who scoffs at dreams?

All who are worthy have their dreams,

And of these dreams the best of life is made.

       Musicians, poets, sculptors too,

       What are they but our dreamers,

Who, from a filmy fantasy

        Have woven for us wondrous tapestries of thought?

I, too have dreams—

           Best of these

Is one of Universal Brotherhood—

       When Hate, and Spite, and Petty Meanness

       Shall behind strong doors be barred.

When creed shall not look down on creed,

           Nor race on race—

When Bigotry shall pass away,

To Toleration giving place—

When Greed, and Cruelty, and every

        Vice that now corrupts our world,

            Shall all be gone—

And, in their places, shall arise

A Legion of the Larger Soul. [page 15]

Then, in my dream,

       I see the followers of the Wondrous Nazarene

                             At prayer.

“Give us, O God the grace to live according to our light

As do so many who are not of our own faith.”

        While out upon the desert

        Kneels an Arab.

                Facing the East he cries,

                “Allah, great Allah,

                Grant that to our tribe

                    May come a peace

        Like unto that of


Ah, could some Poet-Soul

But dream my dream for me;

And then, awaking,

       Have power, with a mighty pen

                  To paint the dream,

So that, in time all men should know

That only Love leads on to Happiness

                 And up

                        To God! [page 16]


To think that I have ever hurt you Dear!

When you have giv’n yourself to me entire—

Your Heart so pure none other need aspire

Ever to equal it, or e’en come near—

Your whole Self all unspoiled by stain of sin—

Your Courage before which cowards retire,—

Your Zeal for Good which sets men’s hearts on fire

To do the right, saying “We’ll fight and win!”

Your Intellect and Vision keen and clear,

Your Honour that ’gainst craft of men serves well—

And your great Soul radiant as stars so bright—

But best of all your Love to me, so dear!

To think I hurt you Dear! This thought is Hell,

And rankles in my heart both day and night. [page 17]

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How beautiful is evening’s afterglow!

Sun gone;

       Sky blue,

                  With pencillings of pink, and mauve, and gold.

The winds have chased the sun, and now are tired.

Even the trees are still,

                            As if

                  They watched, with sleepy joy,

                         The coming of the night.

This scene of peace seems but to bring to me

                  Your memory dear;

And, with the memory, the thought

        That you, like the gold orb of day,

                          Have left me.

Then comes the wish—

       That, like the sun, you’ll soon return. [page 19]


At gladsome times I think of you,

       For, when my heart is gay,

I wish with all my heart you weren’t

       So very far away.

When everything is going wrong

        I feel the need of cheer;

And then I need you all the more,

       And wish that you were here.

And so I send this—just to let

       You know you’re in my thought.

I wish you joy, and dare to send

       This wish to you unsought. [page 20]

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