Childsong: The Lulaby of Life

The Lulaby of Life

Compiled, edited and adapted by James W. King (JWK)
Copyright ©1996 Christopher E. King
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

(72 entries)

This collection of children's poetry was selected with a great deal of care. I've visited the finest libraries in the United States and read over a thousand books of children's poetry, many from the late Victorian period (1870-1910) and from the early modern era (1900-1930). I selected about 500 from the many I've seen, and updated any archaic or arcane language as to references a modern child wouldn't understand. All while trying to keep the same rhyme and metre, which is hard to do. Here's the first installment. --Bill King

People think it's only a garden,
With roses along the wall;
I'll tell you the truth about it
It isn't a garden at all!

It's really Robin Hood's forest,
And over by that big tree
Is the very place where fat Friar Tuck
Fought with the Miller of Dee.

And back of the barn is the cavern
Where Jesse James is hid;
On the other side is a big strong box
That belongs to Billy the Kid.

That isn't a pond you see there,
It's the ocean deep and wide,
Where six-masted ships are waiting
To sail on rising tide.

Of course it looks like a garden,
It's all so sunny and clear ---
You'd be surprised if you really knew
The things that have happened here!
-- The Secrets of Our Garden, Rupert Sargent Holland, (adapted by JWK)

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.
-- At the Seaside, Robert Louis Stevenson

I'd like to be a lighthouse
All scrubbed and painted white.
I'd like to be a lighthouse
And stay awake all night
To keep my eye on everything
That sails my patch of sea;
I'd like to be a lighthouse
With the ships all watching me.
-- I'd Like to be a Lighthouse, Rachel Lyman Field

A nice little mermaid lived under the sea,
And always combing her hair was she.

She put it high up and she put it low down,
She twisted it in with a seashell crown;

She braided it and curled it for hours and hours,
And sprinkled it over with coral flowers.

But once she grew tired of combing her hair,
And fell to wondering what was where.

She climbed on a rock to talk with the gales,
And made great eyes at the sharks and whales.

Some white-winged gulls flew over her head;
'Now where can those things live?' she said.

She wondered and wondered, but couldn't guess where,
For she thought the whole world was water and air.

'And so many great ships sail over the sea;
Where they are going is what puzzles me!

They will get to the edge of the sea some day,
And tumble off in a terrible way.

There'll be no one to catch them, I'm afraid ---
So they'll tumble forever! said the little mermaid.
-- The Little Mermaid, Carrie W. Thompson, (adapted by JWK)

Ferry me across the water,
Do boatman, do.
If you've a penny in your purse
I'll ferry you.

I have a penny in my purse,
And my eyes are blue;
So ferry me across the water,
Do, boatman, do.

Step into my ferry-boat,
Be they back or blue,
And for the penny in your purse
I'll ferry you.
-- Boatman, Christina Giorgina Rossetti

Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier far than these.

There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But rainbows that bridge heaven,
And overtop the trees,
And build a road from earth to sky,
Are prettier far than these.
-- Boats Sail on the Rivers, Christina Giorgina Rossetti

When summer's in the city,
And roads ablaze with heat,
The Ice-Cream Man with his little cart
Goes trundling down our street.

Beneath his round umbrella,
Oh, what a joyful sight,
To see him fill the cones with mounds
Of cooling brown or white;

Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry,
Or chilly things to drink
From bottles full of frosty-fizz,
Green, orange, white, or pink.

His cart could be a flower bed
Of roses and sweet peas,
The way the children cluster 'round
Like swarms of honeybees.
-- The Ice-Cream Man, Rachel Lyman Field, (adapted by JWK)

I went to the park
And I bought a balloon.
It sailed through the sky
Like a large orange moon.
It bumped and it fluttered
And swam with the clouds.
Small birds flew around it
In high chirping crowds.
It bounced and it balanced
And bowed with the breeze.
It skimmed past the leaves
On the top of the trees.
And then as the day
Started turning to night
I gave a short jump
And I held the string tight
And home we all sailed
Through the darkening sky
The orange balloon, the small birds
And I.
-- The Balloon, Karla Kuskin

I flew my kite
One bright blue day,
Light yellow-orangey away
Above the tip tall tops of trees,
With little drops from breeze to breeze,
With little rises and surprises,
And the string would sing to these.

I flew my kite
One white new day,
Bright orange-yellowy and gay
Against the clouds. I flew it through
The cloudiness of one or two --
Cheering, veering, disappearing;
String to fingers, tight and true.

I flew my kite
One dole-dark day,
Dull orange image in the grey,
When not a single bird would fly
So windy wet and wild a sky
Of little langors and great angers.
Kite, good-by, good-by, good-by!
-- Kite, David McCord

This is my rock,
And here I run
To steal the secret of the sun;

This is my rock,
And here I come
Before the night has swept the sky;

This is my rock,
This is the place
I meet the evening face to face.
-- This is My Rock, David McCord

People always say to me
'What do you think you'd like to be
When you grow up?'
And, I say, 'Why,
I think I'd like to be the sky
Or a plane or train or mouse
Or maybe be a haunted house
Or something furry, rough and wild...
Or maybe I will stay a child.'
-- The Question, Karla Kuskin

Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers, I think;
When I'm grown up and can have what I please
I think I will always insist upon these.

What do you choose when you're offered a treat?
When Mother says, 'What would you like best to eat?'
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It's cocoa and animal crackers that I love most!

The kitchen's the cosiest place I know:
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

Daddy and Mother dine later with Kate,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan in wait;
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said, he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea!
-- Animal Crackers, Christopher Morley (adapted by JWK)

The stars are made of lemon juice,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

I wear my shoes inside out,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

My house goes walking every day,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Dolls go dancing on the moon,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

The wind blows backwards all night long,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Monkeys mumble in a jelly bean jungle,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Candy tastes like soap, soap, soap,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Monkeys eat the chimney smoke,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Tigers sleep on an elephant snoot,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Clouds hide in a hole in the sky,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)
Salmon slide down a hippos hide,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

My Teddy Bear sings out loud at night,
and rain makes applesauce.
(Oh, you're just talking silly talk)

Elbows grow on a tickle tree,
and rain makes applesauce.

Oh, you're just talking silly, silly talk

I know I'm talking silly talk...But

Rain makes applesauce.
-- Rain Makes Applesauce, Julian Scheer and Marvin Bileck

If you do not shake the bottle,
None'll come and then a lot'll.
-- On Tomato Ketchup, Delmont Hunt Heines

The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their soup on the tablecloth ---
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop --- are you?
-- Table Manners, Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

The meanest trick I ever knew
Was one I know you never do.
I saw a Goop once try to do it,
And there was nothing funny to it.
He pulled a chair from under me
As I was sitting down; but he
Was sent to bed, and rightly, too.
It was a horrid thing to do!
-- A Low Trick, Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
-- The Purple Cow, Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, anytime, to him
Is aris/toc/racy.
-- Pedigree, Emily Dickinson

How does the little busy bee
Improve each daylight hour,
And gather honey all day long
From every blossoming flower!

How skillfully she builds her cell!
How neat she forms the wax!
And labors hard to fill it's well
With nectar that she makes.

At books, or work, or healthy play,
Let all my years be passed;
That I may give for every day
A good account at last.
-- The Bee, Isaac Watts, from 'Divine Songs for Children' 1715 (Adapted by JWK)

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear;
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
So Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy. Was he?
-- Fuzzy Wuzzy, Anonymous

How large unto the tiny fly
Must little things appear! ---
A rosebud like a feather bed,
It's thorns almost a spear;

A dewdrop like like a telescope,
A hair like golden wire;
The smallest grain of mustard seed
As fierce as coals on fire;

A loaf of bread, a lofty hill;
A wasp, a cruel leopard;
And specks of salt as bright to see
As lambkins to a shepherd.
-- The Fly, Walter de la Mare, from 'Complete Poems' (Adapted by JWK)

Way down South where bananas grow,
A grasshopper stepped on an elephant's toe.
The elephant said, with tears in his eyes,
'Pick on somebody your own size.'
-- Way Down South, Anonymous

A horse and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a curbstone shooting dice.
The horse he slipped and fell on the flea.
The flea said, 'Whoa, there's a horse on me!'
-- Whoa Horsey!, Anonymous (Adapted by JWK)

The ptarmigan is strange,
As strange as he can be;
Never sits on ptelephone poles
Or roosts upon a ptree.
And the way he ptakes pto spelling
Is the strangest thing pto me.
-- The Ptarmigan, Anonymous

I wish that my room had a floor;
I don't care so much for a door.
  But this walking around
  Without touching the ground
Is getting to be quite a bore.

-- I Wish That My Room Had A Floor, Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

Arithmetic is where numbers fly
  like pigeons in and out of your head.
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win
   if you know how many you had
   before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children
   go to heaven --- or five six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your
   head to your hand to your pencil to your paper
   till you get the right answer....
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad,
   and you eat one and a striped zebra
   with streaks all over him eats the other,
   how many animal crackers will you have
   if somebody offers you five six seven and you say
   No no no and you say Nay nay nay
   and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg
   for breakfast and she gives you
   two fried eggs and you eat
   both of them, who is better in arithmetic,
   you or your mother? from
-- 'Arithmetic', Carl Sandburg

Into the endless dark
The lights of the buildings shine,
Row upon row,
Line upon glistening line.
Up and up they mount
Till the tallest seems to be
The topmost taper set
On a towering Christmas tree.

-- City Lights, Rachel Lyman Field

In the morning the city
Spreads its wings
Making a song
In stone that sings.

In the evening the city
Goes to bed
Hanging lights
About its head.
-- City, Langston Hughes

I'm glad that I
Live near a park
For in the winter
After dark
The park lights shine
As bright and still
As dandelions
On a hill.

-- The Park, James S. Tippet

When the golden day is done,
Through the closing portal,
Child and garden, flower and sun,
Vanish all mortal things.

As the blinding shadows fall,
As the rays diminish,
Under evening's cloak, they all
Roll away and vanish.

Garden darkened, daisy shut,
Child in bed, they slumber ---
Glow-worm in the highway rut,
Mice among the lumber.

In the darkness houses shine,
Parents move with candles;
Till on all, the night divine
Turns the bedroom handles.

Till at last the day begins
In the east a-breaking,
In the hedges and the whins
Sleeping birds a-waking.

In the darkness shapes of things,
Houses, trees and hedges,
Clearer grow; and sparrow's wings
Beat on window ledges.

These shall wake the yawning maid;
She the door shall open ---
Finding dew on grassy blade
And the morning broken.

There my garden grows again
Green and rosy painted,
As at eve behind the pane
From my eyes it fainted.

Just as it was shut away,
Toy-like, in the even,
Here I see it glow with day
Under glowing heaven.

Every path and every plot,
Every bush of roses,
Every blue forget-me-not
Where the dew reposes,

'Up!' they cry, 'the day is come
On the smiling valleys;
We have beat the morning drum;
Playmates, join your allies!'
-- Night and Day, Robert Louis Stevenson (Adapted by JWK)

Nothing fairer than the light
On petals opening, gold and white,
To the morning, to the blue,
In a world of song and dew.

Nothing fairer than two eyes
That behold with shy surprise
The miracle that no man can stay ---
Darkness turning into day.
-- Early Morning Song, Rachel Lyman Field

Her feet along the dewy hills
Are lighter than blown thistledown;
She bears the glamor of one star
Upon her violet crwon.

With her soft touch of mothering,
How soothing to the sense she seems!
She holds within her gentle hand
The quiet gift of dreams.

-- Dusk, Clifton Scollard (1860-1932)

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky,
The dew will weep your fall tonight,
   For you must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave,
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
Your root is ever in its grave,
   And you must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie,
My music shows you have your closes,
   And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like seasoned timber, never gives,
But though the whole world turns to coal,
   Then chiefly lives.
-- Virtue, George Herbert (1593-1633) (Adapted by JWK)

All day long they come and go ---
Pittypat and Tipptoe;
Footprints up and down the hall,
Playthings scattered on the floor,
Fingerprints along the wall
Telltale smudges on the door ---
By these presents you shall know
Pittypat and Tippytoe...

On the floor and down the hall,
Rudely smudged upon each wall,
There is proof of every kind,
Of the havoc they did wreak,
And upon my heart you'd find
Just such trademarks, if you seek;
Oh, how glad I am it's so,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!
-- Pittypat and Tippytoe, Eugene Field (Adapted by JWK)

Someone came knocking
At my wee, small door,
Someone came knocking,
I'm sure -- sure -- sure;
I listened, I opened,
I looked left and right,
But nothing was stirring
In the still dark night.
Only the busy chipmunk
Tap-tapping in the wall,

Only from the forest
The hoot owl's call,
Only the cricket chirping
While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,
At all -- at all -- at all!
-- Someone, Walter de la Mare from 'Collected Poems - 1901-1918' (Adapted by JWK)

Come along in then, little girl!
Or else stay out!
But in the open door she stands,
And bites her lip and twists her hands,
And stares upon me, trouble-eyed;
'Mother,' she says, 'I can't decide!'
-- From A Very Little Sphinx, Edna St. Vincent Millay

I thought myself, indeed, secure,
So fast the door, so firm the lock;
But, lo! he toddling comes to lure
My parent ear with timorous knock.

My heart is stone could it withstand
The sweetness of my baby's plea, ---
That timorous, baby knocking and
'Please let me in, --- it's only me.'

I throw aside the unfinished book,
Regardless of its tempting charms,
And, opening wide the door, I take
My laughing angel in my arms.

Who knows but in Eternity,
I, like a truant child, will wait
The glories of the life to be,
Beyond our Heavenly Father's gate?

And will that Heavenly Father heed
The truant's little prayerful cry,
As at the outer door I plead,
'Oh, dear Father, it's only I.'
-- At The Door, Eugene Field (Adapted by JWK)

In evening when the lights are lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play with anything.

But, with my little gun, I crawl
In the dark and along the wall,
And follow round the forest tracks
Away behind the sofa backs.

There, in dark night, where no one spies,
In my camp and tent I lie,
And play with books that I have read
Until it's time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
Here is my starry solitude;
And there's the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, just like an Indian Scout,
Around their campsite prowl about.

So, when Mother comes in for me,
Back I go across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my good land of Storybooks.
-- The Land of Storybooks, Robert Louis Stevenson (Adapted by JWK)

There is no frigate like a book
To take us far away,
Nor any show horse like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This journey may the poorest take
Without the fear of tolls;
How frugal is the chariot
That carries human souls!
-- A Book, Emily Dickinson (Adapted by JWK)


Goodnight daylight
and playing trains;
goodnight books,
and bread and butter,
and games of make believe,
and brothers and sisters,
and father and mother.

Goodnight, God.
Take care of us while we sleep,
And you have a good night, too.

-- Bedtime, Madeline L'Engle

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, close your eyes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, be surprised.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, climb up the stairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the light.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say good night.
-- Teddy Bear, Traditional Child's Skipping Song (Adapted by JWK)

'Who are you with clustered light,
Little Sisters seven?'
'Crickets, chirping all the night
On the hearth of heaven.'
-- The Pleiads, John Bannister Tabb

Stars over snow,
And in the west a planet
Swinging below a star ---
Look for a lovely thing and
  you will find it,
It is not far ---
  It never will be far. , Sara Teasdale

The midnight plane with its flying lights
looks like an unloosed star
wandering west through blue-black night
to where the mountains are,
a star that's come so close to earth
to tell each quiet farm
and little town, 'Put out your lights,
children of earth. Sleep warm.'
-- Night Plane, Frances Frost, Printed in World Journal Tribune (Adapted by JWK)

When my brother Tommy
  Sleeps in bed with me,
       He  doubles  up
          and makes
            him self

And 'cause the bed is not so wide,
A part of him is on my side.
-- Two In Bed, Abram Bunn Ross

    Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Flowers are closed and lambs are sleeping;
    Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
Stars are up, the moon is peeping;
    Lullaby, oh, lullaby!
While the birds are silence keeping,
    (lullaby, oh, lullaby.)
Sleep, my baby, fall a-sleeping,
    Lullaby, oh, lullaby!

-- Lullaby, Christina Georgina Rossetti

My baby has a wrinkled fist,
My baby has a neck in creases;
My baby kisses and is kissed,
For she's the very thing for kisses.
-- Baby Kisses, Christina Georgina Rossetti (Adapted by JWK)

Last night, my darling, as you slept,
I thought I heard you sigh,
And to your little crib I crept,
To sing a lullaby;
Then bending low, I kissed your brow ---
For, Oh! I love you so ---
You are too young to know it now,
But sometime you will know.

Sometime, when in a dim, quiet place
Where others come to weep,
You will behold a careworn face
Calm in eternal sleep;
The speechless lips, that wrinkled brow,
The patient smile will show ---
You are too young to know it now,
But sometime you will know.

Look backward, then, into the years,
And you'll see me here tonight ---
See how, dearest darling, my tears
Are falling as this I write;
And feel once more upon your brow
The kiss of long ago ---
You are too young to know it now,
But sometime you will know.
-- Sometime, Eugene Field (Adapted by JWK)

I saw a star slide down the sky,
Blind the north as it went by,
Too burning and too quick to hold,
Too lovely to be bought or sold,
Good only to make wishes on
And then forever to be gone.
-- The Falling Star, Sara Teasdale

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is set,
And the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
-- The Star, Jane Taylor (Adapted by JWK)

All night long and every night,
When my mother turns off my light,
I see some people marching by,
As plain as day, before my eyes.

Armies, emperors, elephants, kings,
Carrying all different kinds of things,
Marching in so grand a way,
You never saw the like by day.

A finer show was never seen,
At the great circus on the green;
For every kind of beast and man
Was marching in that caravan.

At first they move a little slow,
But still they faster on they go,
And still beside them close I keep
Until we reach the town of Sleep.
-- Young Night Thought, Robert Louis Stevenson (Adapted by JWK)

Little wind, blow on the hilltop,
Little wind, blow down the plain;
Little wind, blow up the sunshine,
Little wind, blow off the rain.
-- Little Wind, Kate Greenaway, from 'Under The Window' 1910

Oh, wind, why do you never rest,
Wandering, whistling to and fro,
Bringing rain out of the west,
From the dim north bringing snow?
-- Oh, Wind, Christina Georgina Rossetti, from 'Sing-Song'

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves climbing garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbor bays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of trees.

Squallering cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle in sleep to stay out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Until in the morning the sun will arise.
-- The Moon, Robert Louis Stevenson (Adapted by JWK)

In and out, in and out,
Through the clouds heaped about,
    Wanders the bright moon.

What she seeks, I do not know;
Where she looks, I cannot go.

I am but a little child,
And the night is strange and wild.

In and out, in and out,
    Wanders the bright moon
In and out, in and out,
    She will find it soon.

Here she comes, bright as day, ---
Now the clouds have run away.
She is smiling, I can see,
And she's looking right at me.

Pretty moon, all bright and round,
Won't you tell me what you have found?

-- At My Window , (Adapted by JWK)

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
-- Who Has Seen The Wind?, Christina Giorgina Rossetti

Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.
-- Windy Nights, Robert Louis Stevenson

The north wind does blow
And we will have snow,
And what will the poor robin do then, poor thing?
    He'll sit in a barn,
    And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing!

The north wind does blow
And we will have snow,
And what will the field mouse do then, poor thing?
    Roll'd up like a ball,
    In his nest snug and small,
He'll sleep till warm weather comes in, poor thing!

The north wind does blow
And we will have snow,
And what will the children do then, poor things?
    When lessons are done,
    They must skip, jump, and run,
Until they have made themselves warm, poor things!
-- The North Wind Does Blow, (Adapted by JWK)

The lilies of the field, whose bloom is brief ---
    We are as they;
    Like them we fade away,
        As does a leaf.

The sparrows of the air, of small account:
    Dear God does view
    Whether they fall or mount ---
        He guards us too.

The lilies, that do neither spin nor toil,
    Yet are most fair ---
    What profits all this care,
        And all this coil?

The birds, that have no barns or harvest weeks
    God gives them food ---
    Much more our Father seeks
        To do us good.
-- Consider, Christina Giorgina Rossetti (Adapted by JWK)

To every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to reap;
A time to killl,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
To every thing there is a season under heaven.
-- Seasons and Time, The Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (Adapted by JWK)

January cold and desolate;
February dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
April changes;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly,
August bears corn,
September fruit;
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.
-- The Months, Christina Giorgina Rossetti

Spring is showery, flowery, bowery.
Summer: hoppy, choppy, poppy.
Autumn: wheezy, sneezy, freezy.
Winter: slippy, drippy, nippy.
-- Four Seasons, Anonymous

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking

over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-- Fog, Carl Sandburg, 1918

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night ---

And I love the rain.
-- April Rain Song, Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

I like it when it's mizzly
and just a little drizzly
so everything looks far away
and make-believe and frizzly.

I like it when it's foggy
and sounding very froggy.
I even like it when it rains
on streets and weepy windowpanes
and catkins in the polar tree
and me.

-- I Like It When It's Mizzly, Aileen Fisher

The rain it rains both on the just
And also on the unjust fella.
Bust mostly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella.

-- The Just and The Unjust, Charles Bowen (Adapted by JWK)

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven without repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlor cool,
Yet he will find a slit or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, makes it glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles,
Into a laddered hayloft smiles.
Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's hidden nook.
Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please a child, to paint a rose,
The Gardener of the World, he goes.
-- Summer Sun, Robert Louis Stevenson, from 'A Child's Garden of Verse' (Adapted by JWK)

An emerald is as green as grass;
A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
To catch the world's desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
But a flint holds all the fire.
-- Precious Stones, Christina Giorgina Rossetti (Adapted by JWK)

To make a prairie takes a clover and one bee, ---
One clover, and a bee,
And reverie.
The reverie alone will do
If the bees are few.
-- To Make A Prairie, Emily Dickinson (Adapted by JWK)

The top of a hill
Is not until
The bottom is below.
And you have to stop
When you reach the top
For there's no more UP to go.

To make it plain
Let me explain:
The one most reason why
You have to stop
When you reach the top --- is:
The next step up is sky.
-- How To Tell The Top Of A Hill, John Ciardi

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when the lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down.
-- Afternoon On A Hill, Edna St. Vincent Millay

If I could see a little fish ---
That is what I just now wish!
I want to see his great round eyes
Always open in surprise.

I wish a water-rat would glide
Slowly to the other side;
Or a dancing spider sit
On the yellow flags a bit.

I think I'll get some stones to throw,
And watch the pretty circles show.
Or shall we sail a flower boat,
And watch it slowly --- slowly float?

That's nice --- because you never know
How far away it means to go;
And when tomorrow comes, you see,
It may be in the great wide sea.
-- On The Bridge, Kate Greenaway

©1994 Stephen L. Spanoudis, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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