On the Lakes
The waves beat roughly ‘gainst the rocks
Of Superior’s northern shore,
But long they’ve stood the thundrous shocks
Of the storm’s relentless roar;
And Thunder Cape looms up amain—
The Sleeping Giant’s guardian fane.
The steamers bearing ores, which mined
On Minnesota’s shore,
They leave a trail of smoke behind
A-carrying valued store
For mills to forge in Vulcan bars,
In shapes for Eros or for Mars.
The gulls sweep round our ship, the while—
Their pinions never tire—
Their actions oft bring forth a smile,
And their graces we admire.
They soar, they dive and then they float,
Collecting morsels from our boat.
A million gleams dance on the wave
At near the close of day,
While our good ship so stout and brave
Speeds forward on her way.
Across the bosom of the lake
The sun declines midst pine and brake.
The picture clouds in gold and blue
Spread outward south and north;
A streaming sheen like golden dew
Brings exclamations forth;
The wavelets dancing in the glow
Sparkle and gleam—a brilliant show.
The full blown moon hangs far above
The waves that roll beneath,
A harbinger of hope and love—
Its gleams the wavelet’s wreath—
And here upon the inland main
Smiles on the sailor’s fond refrain.
I loved the fields and the meadows green,
The shimmer and glow of the brooks between
Where the lowing kine oft quenched their thurst,
And the ewes their playful lamkinds nursed.
The billowing fields and the purling brooks
Were unfolded to me—my only books—
And barefoot I trod o’er hill, through dell,
Alone but happy, content and well.
Then, through the woods I roamed for flowers;
To memory these, delicious hours.
The shadows I watched in the limpid streams
Portrayed the life I saw in my dreams.
The caw of the crows, the hoot of owl,
The bleat of lambs, the cackle of fowl,
And the song of birds I loved to hear—
Ah, sweet all these to my listening ear.
Sweet, too, the blossom-scent from the trees,
And sweet the hum of the lusty bees;
But sweeter far were voices of those
I loved to hear at the evening’s close.
The trail of the song went through my soul
As clear as the ring through the silver bowl;
And then my father’s oft whistled tune,
As sweet as bird-warbles are in June.
These voices and scenes come back to me
Through memory sure and reverie;
They’re sweet indeed and true, although
They’re voices and scenes of long ago.
En reverie, alone, alone save a cigar and thought,
And there, amidst the loneliness,
The curling eddies brought
Her to his vision from afar—the sunshine of her smile—
And fancy brought her happy laugh to cheer his heart the while.
In visions clear he sees her oft in moods both brave and gay,
And e’en that smile his heart to bless
Throughout the pulsing day.
He sees her image in the haze in varying forms that please—
Her look, her smiles come back to him, as a refreshing breeze.
Thus while his thoughts wing far away and smoke is curling up
From his cigar—forgotten bliss—
To sip a sweeter cup—
He fancies that amidst the scenes of joy and gaiety
She yields one moment’s thought to him of love and sympathy.
The Blue Jay
See saucy Jay upon his perch;
His glance is keen, his prey a-search;
A scarlet sinner, it is true,
Yet he is garbed in brilliant blue,
As tho a bluebell came to life
With wings and beak for mortal strife.
We note the beauty and forget
The naughty deeds that we regret.
A noisy chap at times he is,
Yet we admire his brilliancy.
His deeds may well be classed as such
As mark the sinner’s cunning touch;
But when we note the saucy crest,
The twinkling azure of his breast,
We think of Iris passing by
In innocence from out the sky.
When foraging he claims his rights;
He acts according to his lights.
He lives by theft consistently—
If he’s condemned, may we not be?
The Boy of Ten
A boy, J. Easy, now aged ten,
Has been through Baby Land and then
To Boyhood Town he traveled on
And laid up toy-stuff by the ton,
As small ones do, and made his mark
In A B C’s, and with the lark,
He rose up early in the morn
And waked the sleepers with his horn
But now at ten, his visions soar—
He’s not content, but wants much more,
He’d journey on to Young Man Town,
An “Aleck” be in cap and gown;
He’d swell his chest and strut and gad,
He’d know a sight more than his dad;
He’d beau the girls and get in debt—
Perchance his ma would sigh and fret.
But those are stations on the way
From Boyhood Town to Glory Bay,
Beyond which is the Land-of-Men,
The journey’s end for the boy of ten.
Hail Gallaudet! Thy sons and daughters throng
Into thy halls with laughter and with song;
In grateful homage, true, they praises bring,
And to thee, Gallaudet, in gestures sing.
Thou hast lifted aloft the cup of life,
Bubbling with hope and the strength of strife;
And they who have quaffed, shall they e’er forget
Thy most precious gifts? Hail Gallaudet!
Out of the shadows of darkest night,
From the length and breadth of this land of might,
And some have essayed the summits of fame—
Have trooped to thy fountains, the silent bands.
Many are marching o’er duty’s rough road,
Thankful for sinews from Wisdom’s abode;
And some have essayed the summits of fame—
Looking not backward except to thy name.
Hail, thou Gallaudet, guide of our youth,
Lead e’er thy children on to light and truth;
Thy scroll of fifty years bears naught but praise—
Shall it not last, in truth, through endless days?
A crown, Oh, Gallaudet, rests on thy brow;
Pride, Honor, Glory, Love before thee bow.
Ne’er shall thy spirit die, nor we forget—
Hail Gallaudet, thou Friend! Hail Gallaudet!
As They Pass By
The years skip on, they will not stay
For aged folk like we;
They shower all our heads with gray
And laugh at you and me.
The years, the little elfin years,
They’re never aged to be—
So let them laugh and flount our fears,
They’re always young, you see.
Ah, let the years prance o’er our beds
And dance their dance of glee,
Their merriment shall turn our heads
From gloom to fancies free.
We in our age may laugh and shout
With youth and new-born years,
So let them come—crowd us about
And wipe away our tears.
Back in a corner dim and dusty
There is a hole, dank and musty;
And kitty, pussy, catty, kit,
Why by that hole do you sit?
“Mousy, mousy, mouse hides in there,
When he comes out he is my fare.”
Birdie, birdie on the fence rail,
Kitty-cat, pussy curls her tail.
While birdie sings his cheerful song
Pussy, pussy, creeping along,
All of a sudden springs up high,
But birdie’s message is, “Bye bye.”
Pussy-cat, pussy sleeps in the sun,
Doggie, doggie comes on the run.
Pussy wakes up, shows teeth and claws,
Doggie comes to a sudden pause;
Pussy spits out her defiance
Doggie pausing, begs alliance.
Pussy-cat, puss, why do you purr,
Coiled in my lap and never stir?
“It’s nice and comfy and feels good
To be petted and understood,
And so I purr with all my might
When lassies stroke my coat aright.”
Why do the leaves turn upside down,
Just before the rain comes down?
Why do the creeping serpents molt?
Did you ever see a white colt?
Why does the dog turn round and round
Before his sleeping posture’s found?
How does the cricket pipe his song?
Why are “granddaddy’s” legs so long?
What wood will bear the greatest weight?
What metal weighs the battle’s fate?
The rope the tethered horse untwists,
Why it the cow all kindly twists?
Why do the sun-dogs storms avow?
From which side does one milk a cow?
Viewing the spring-time cherry tree,
Blossoms or leaves do first we see?
What are the kitten’s whiskers for?
Why does the mouse have tail galore?
Why does the horse eat grass one way,
Why does the cow the other, pray?
When cows and horses rise, my dears,
Which is the end that first uprears?
Why does the rabbit in a chase,
Prefer uphill to lead the race?
Thorugh the woods or through the rye,
The cowpath’s always crooked—why?
What creature gives us silks to wear?
What is its food, procured with care?
What food sustains the humming bird,
And how collected, have you heard?
How does the grapevine take its hold?
How does the ivy cling so bold?
On which side of the tree-trunk grows
The moss—and why do you suppose?
Why is the ocean salt and why
Does not o’erflow nor yet run dry?
But why ask more? The stream is long—
Indeed ‘twould be an endless song.
Over the hill by the country-side
I viewed a field of pumpkins wide.
They lay on the lap of mother earth
And some were small—some wide of girth
Yellow and orange with streaks of red
For thus to color they had been bred.
They glistened there in the set of sun,
Jack Frost proclaimed their race was run,
And from the path thru groves of oak
There came a troop of goblin-folk,
Queerly shaped in form and feature
Led by an old, sharp-visioned creature,
And by some magic—a quick plan
Each goblin shaped a pumpkin-man.
They marshalled then in rows and rows,
And garbed then in fantastic clothes;
Then mindful of the magic wand
Some pumpkin-men took up their stand
Hard by the thicket of corn shocks,
Or in the shadow of the rocks;
While others scurred here and thence
And hid in corners by the fence.
The goblin-chief leaned on his staff
So solemn that it made me laugh.
Which caused a panic mongst the hosts
Of goblins foul and dead men’s ghosts.
They vanished quickly from my sight
Thanks to the witching hours of night.
Succeeding, to the field there came,
A troop of creatures without name—
Some tall and slim, some fat and round—
Then from the shadows came black cats
And o’er them flapped a troop of bats;
The pumpkins all in a mad race
Came rushing to the meeting place;
Then such a dance I ne’er had seen
Was executed on the green.
Then at a signal every sprite
Vanished to meet again next night.
Anna Niblock Rankin
She lived beside a winding road,
They learned, who passed, ‘twas Love’s abode;
And they who paused, bowed down with grief,
Found in her touch a sure relief.
Just a woman without a creed,
Only that kindness was our need—
Her heart a garden of fairest flowers,
Transplanting its treasures into ours.
Only a woman with a heart of gold
Filled to the brim with gems untold;
Like as a lily that blooms in spring,
Cheering all hearts until they sing.
In tenderness we breathe her name
For Love was near where’er she came;
Her gentle tones allayed our fears
With music one more feels than hears.
The bees are busy all day long
Their hum is loud, their fight is strong
When it’s sunny.
They visit all the blooms about
And gather sweets;
For this through field and wood they scout,
Nor ‘voiding streets.
They are too busy, far, to play
When shines the sun;
From early morn till evening gray
Their work is done.
They linger not in shady bowers,
As drones love most;
They carry food and feed the flowers—
A busy host.
From flower to cell they oft return
Ere day is done;
With burdens sweet they homeward turn
At set of sun.
And humans love the busy bees—
The good they do—
They love their stores in hive and trees,
Now, do not you?
We find him in the wood and field
A-hewing and a-tilling;
He coaxes Mother Earth to yield
Our shelter and its filling;
We know he delveth in the mine—
A grimy, crooked gnome—
For coals and shining gold; in fine
He warms and gilds our homes.
Behold him at the forge and mill,
Bent down unto his labor,
A Vulcan in his might and will—
A master, a creator.
We see him in our shops and marts,
O’ercast with dust and grime;
He brings unto our homes and hearts
Essence of rose and thyme.
He braves the perils to rear our domes,
Risks health and limb and life;
The making of our meanest homes
May e’en bereave a wife
He shrinks not from the hardest toil—
His strength he does not stint—
From shop and forge and the rich soil
He garners sweet content.
So of his brawn, sinew and bone,
Aided by cunning crafts,
Our hearths, our wealth, our all have grown,
And monumental shafts.
He toileth on at God’s behest—
Sinews attuned to labor—
With heartbeats true in manly breast,
And true unto his neighbor.
Now see him as he strides along,
In leisure moments free,
And as he mingles with the throng,
His mien of modesty.
His garb is plain, yet e’en the while
That fashions around him press,
You see his lips curl with a smile—
His thoughts? Why, you can guess!
Flowers of Spring
Pussy-willows now appear—
Harbingers of Spring—
Driving from our hearts the fear,
Rousing them to sing.
Columbine and violets
Peep from ‘neath the sod,
Smiling thanks lest one forgets
The graciousness of God.
In among the brambles, there,
Blossoms white and pink
Scenting all the balmy air—
Praising God, I think.
Man, shall he be less thankful be
Than the tiny flowers?
He must sense divinity
In their waking hours.
Our Alice (1906)
Her image lies before me now,
The essence of a grace that’s rare,
The form, the brow, I scarce know how,
Portrays a life that’s true and fair.
The lips that speak, the eyes that smile,
Say life is sweet and pure and good;
And so my heart they do beguile
And make me love her as I should.
I’ve loved her with a love that’s pure
I’ve striven to guard her from all harm
My constancy, true, will endure
Through life’s vicissitudes or charm.
The college cap and gown she bears
Set off the form and shines the face;
In this the heart most eager shares
To lend a charm and add a grace.
Can scarce believe our Alice grown
In ways that are so fair and free,
So few short years have come and flown
Since she was dandled on my knee.
She quits her Alma Mater now—
Out in the world with pulsing song—
The force she has we must allow
Suffice to keep her with the throng.
So brings she others cheer and hope—
A lifter brave of burdens here—
The spirit strong with wider scope
Than leaners have who doubt and fear.
So give her love—a woman’s meed [sic]—
Give her your faith and loving trust,
For she’ll be true—a friend indeed—
Till heart and brain dow down to dust.
Rhymes for a Party
What, make a rhyme,
That true will chime
In with your joys at festal time!
The muses call up one by one,
The gnomes, the fays, all canny broods,
And tickle each to get some fun,
Though unfamiliar with their moods,
Their nectar quaff,
And make you laugh
With tales spun out on their distaff!
What can the fad
Of rhymsters add
To other charms and make you glad?
The great god Pan blew on his reeds
And charming tunes flew west and east,
Drowning the toots of lesser breeds,
Through he, in truth, were half a beast.
‘Tis all the same,
He made a name.
And that’s the surest way to fame.
So shall not I
Attempt or try
Add to the bliss provided by
A spinster Y., a mistress B.,
Who each can spout a done-brown toast,
Or a Mrs. S. and a matron D.,
Each in herself a goodly host.
They’re great, allow,
To them I bow
So will you please excuse me now.
I’ve trod through Gotham’s busy streets—
Burrowed beneath her rocks—
I’ve seen her wondrous shipping fleets
And her maidens’ gorgeous frocks;
I’ve stood upon her rock-ribbed hills
And viewed her reaches wide;
I’ve had a taste of all her thrills—
Some of her ills beside.
I marveled at her towering hives
Where human swarms abide;
I traveled o’er her stately drives
Where wealth and power reside;
I saw amazing sights by day
Along the swelling tide;
By arches grand—an aerial way—
Through space I seemed to glide.
And then when Folly claimed my view—
Exampled at the shore—
My fancy ne’er had dared to woo
Such wondrous things before!
“The great white way” made its impress—
the midnight’s glittering show—
I ne’er had dreamed such gorgeousness—
A million stars aglow.
To the City Toiler
Away from the dust and the grime of the street,
Away from the jangle and noise;
Away from the rush and clatter of feet,
Away from the lure of “the boys.”
Come out to the woods and wide meadows sweet,
Come near to nature’s employs;
Get down to the brooks where the waters are sweet
With rod and reel for your toys.
Away from the mills and excitement of marts,
Away from the factory’s din;
Away from the smoke and the toil’s weary smart,
Away from the surgings within.
Come out to the streams where the kingfishers dart
At sight of a flashing fin;
Get out to the “wild” and the copse’s deep part—
Behold the redbreast and wren.
Then smile while you may, be it dull, be it gay
And blithely sing an old song;
Contentment will sink in your heart by the way
As you go plodding along.
Then laugh at the tricks of the frolicsome jay
And hark, to the sylvan throng,
For music and sunshine will fill out the day
Until the shadows are long.
The clovers have no time to play,
They feed the cows and make the hay,
And trim the lawns and help the bees
Until the sun shines through the trees;
And then they lay aside their cares
And fold their hands and say their prayers,
And drop their tired little heads,
And go to sleep on clover beds.
Then when the day dawns clear and blue,
They wake and wash their hands in dew,
And as the sun climbs up the sky
They hold them up and let them dry,
And then to work the live-long day,
For clovers have no time to play.
No gloom there be by ingleside,
A silent song doth there abide;
The shadows dancing on the wall
Sing to us fancies great or small,
The stir of life within the clod
Creeps upward from beneath the sod,
And reaching out toward the sky
Its carol sings to cheer the eye.
The world’s attuned to song for me
And all that grow sing sympathy.
There’s music in the swaying trees—
The note is wafted by the breeze.
With smiling Nature we rejoice
In silence rather than with voice.
A silent motion charms the throng—
Where’er there’s life there is a song.
[After National Association of the Deaf]
The “Nad” is out of swaddling clothes—
He’s lusty and his horn he blows,
We all will join this hustling band
Nor make our bow to voices “canned”—
We like not the Procrustean bed,
Nor all with the same spoon be fed—
To check bad laws in this free land—
Stand by our cause so true and grand—
And east and west and north and south,
By every sign and word of mouth,
The praises of the N. A. D.,
And put to flight the enemy,
If you’re a Nad, why, that’s all right,
You’re numbered with the best tonight,
Are you a Nad? If not, why not?
Right here and now, upon the spot,
On Leaving “The Birches”
This morn we viewed a soothing nook
Where quiet people dwell,
Amidst the groves of birch and pines—
We grieved to say farewell.
A sparkling lake was at the door,
A boat moored at the dock,
And oft we’d sailed from shore to shore
‘Round towering castle rock.
The mount above was steep and green—
Huge boulders strewn about—
Where Titans played their game of bluff
And put the Gnomes to rout.
The chipmunk and the groundhog dwelt
Hard by the rocky ledge—
Their visits oft amused us much,
Response to friendly pledge.
Groves of white limbed birches grew
In front and at the rear;
The tree-toads and the katydids
Added their mite of cheer.
The whole was a most pleasant scene
And quiet were the hours,
Where books and music had their place—
The joy was truly ours.
This peaceful scene of nature’s charms
Shifted to crowded streets,
As through by magic all was changed
To cars and rushing feet.
A part now of the madding throng
We rush from street to street,
Disturbed by whistles, clang of bells,
And raucous sounds replete.
So back unto our burdens borne
By duties stern and stark—
Withal a mighty rush of life
Far from our lake-side park.
The spooks will soon be on parade
With tricks and scares all newly made,
And to their aid as volunteers
They’ve marshalled kids of tender years,
Who in the dark would seek their bed
With trembling and qualms of dread,
But strange to say, will lend their aid
To spooks and goblins unafraid,
And march thru gloom of darkest night
And tug and stain with all their might
At shutters, gates and grinning “Jacks”
And hoot and groan thru window cracks.
They’d rattle corn against the doors—
Sneak in and scrape beneath the floors.
All this and more, with lantern gleam,
To scare the girls and make them scream,
To darksome nooks the maidens hie
With glass and candle held on high
To see the shadow of their love,
Lured by the spooks from groves above;
Or o’er their heads a peel they fling
And read their fate, the letters bring.
‘Tis strange they brave the shades of hell,
All for the fancies spooks may tell.
Sir Robin’s Inspection
A robin in my cherry tree
Was flitting here and there
Inspecting all the swelling buds
Apparently with care;
And up and down the boughs he peered
With a gravity most rare,
Then cocked his head and seemed to say
“Cherries there’ll be to spare!”
A smile upon his countenance,
My fancy soon detected;
His satisfaction seemed to prove
The tree was well inspected.
He tossed his head in very glee
The buds had been protected,
And seemed to taste the flavor of
June cherries, ripe, expected.
He and his brothers claim that tree,
Though we thought we owned it,
And long disputed we their claim
With not a little credit.
At length a compromise we made
That well required some wit—
Our share, a pie or two—no more—
All else their benefit!
The Memory Window
The window of my memory wide open is today;
I see the old school on the hill, the boys and girls at play.
In their homespun and their ginghams they romp through dewy grass,
Nor heeding much the dampness—barefoot are lad and lass.
From this window I look out upon the hilltops and the streams
Where I roved in free abandon in those distant days of dreams;
And I see the shadows lengthen and the minnows in the pool
From the grapevine swing upon the bank—those days I strayed from school.
From out this memory window, I behold a maiden fair,
With braids of golden tresses—the sunlight lingering there.
And I see the color deepen on that brow of modesty,
And I wonder if she ‘members all the trysts she braved for me.
‘Neath yonder scrub I see a lad a-floundering through the snow,
In his coonskin cap and mitts and scarf breasting the winds that blow,
All for the rabbit and the grouse which dangle from his gun;
His cheeks are red and his eyes are bright, because he’s had such fun.
And then I see the meadows wide and the reapers bent at work—
It matters not if the sun shines hot, no one is there a shirk.
I see the ricks of hay pile up and the rows of golden grain,
And the hurry and the scurry when the storm-clouds presage rain.
Ah, me, there are so many scenes, I see from this window fair,
So many things I’d long forgot in those ancient days back there.
Then I close the memory window and return to life, it seems,
For the past must flow forgotten with the onward rush of streams.
When I Am Dead
When I am dead, I hope to be
Remembered—this is true—
Not for my wit or vanities
But what I did for you.
I trust my friends will think of me
And miss me some when gone,
Not for my virtues or my faith,
Nor for my native brawn,
But for the efforts I have made
To clearly spread the Truth
And bring the Light to darkened minds
And hopeful strength to youth.
The flowers of love I oft receive
While here I grope my way—
Then may you not upon my bier
A single blossom lay.
A love for man is in my heart,
And thankfulness most true
For all the blessings I receive—
For love of God and you.
Then let me rest beneath the sod
Within my narrow bed,
And fill your hearts with joyous thought
Of me, when I am dead.
When I return this borrowed life
No sorrow may you know
For any thought or act of mine,
More cheerful may you grow
In memory of some kind deed,
Or loving thought expressed,
To cheer the drooping soul of some,
As though at God’s behest.
“He did his duty as he knew,”
May this be truly said—
Then grieve ye not, nor tears be shed
For me, when I am dead.