Children's Garland. Ii


THE night was coming very fast;
It reached the gate as I ran past.
The pigeons had gone to the tower of the church,
And all the hens were on their perch,
Up in the barn, and I thought I heard
A piece of a little purring word.
I stopped inside, waiting and staying,
To try to hear what the hens were saying.
They were asking something, that was plain,
Asking it over and over again.
One of them moved and turned around,
Her feathers made a ruffled sound,
A ruffled sound, like a bushful of birds,
And she said her little asking words.
She pushed her head close into her wing,
But nothing answered anything.


We put more coal on the big red fire,
And while we are waiting for dinner to cook,
Our father comes and tells us about
A story that he has read in a book.
And Charles and Will and Dick and I
And all of us but Clarence are there.
And some of us sit on Father’s legs,
But one has to sit on the little red chair.
And when we are sitting very still,
He sings us a song or tells a piece;
He sings Dan Tucker Went to Town,
Or he tells about the golden fleece.
He tells about the golden wool,
And some of it is about a boy
Named Jason, and about a ship,
And some is about a town called Troy.
And while he is telling or singing it through,
I stand by his arm, for that is my place.
And I push my fingers into his skin
To make little dents in his big rough face.


When Mother or Father puts out the light,
I like to look down in my pillow at night.
Some people call them dreams, but for me,
They are things I look down in my pillow and see.
I saw some birds, as many as four,
That were all blue wings and nothing else more,
Without any head and without any feet,
Just blue wings flying over a street.
And almost every night I see
A little brown bowl that can talk to me,
A nice little bowl that laughs and sings,
And ever so many other things.
Sometimes they are plainer than I can say,
But while I am waking they go away.
And when nobody is coming by
I feel my pillow all over and try
And try to feel the pretty things,
The little brown bowl and the flying wings.


The light was burning very dim,
The little blaze was brown and red,
And I waked just in time to see
A panther going under the bed.
I saw him crowd his body down
To make it fit the little space.
I saw the streaks along his back,
And bloody bubbles on his face.
Long marks of light came out of my eyes
And went into the lamp — and there
Was Something waiting in the room —
I saw it sitting on a chair.
Its only eye was shining red,
Its face was very long and gray,
Its two bent teeth were sticking out,
And all its jaw was torn away.
Its legs were flat against the chair,
Its arms were hanging like a swing.
It made its eye look into me,
But did not move or say a thing.
I tried to call and tried to scream,
But all my throat was shut and dry.
My little heart was jumping fast,
I could n’t talk or cry.
And when I’d look outside the bed
I’d see the panther going in.
The streaks were moving on his back,
The bubbles on his chin.
I could n’t help it if they came,
I could n’t save myself at all,
And so I only waited there
And turned my face against the wall.


They had a picnic in the woods,
And Mother could n’t go that day.
But the twins and Brother and I could go;
We rode on the wagon full of hay.
There were more little girls than ten, I guess.
And the boy that is Joe B. Kirk was there.
He found a toad and a katydid,
And a little girl came whose name was Clare.
Miss Kate-Marie made us play a song
Called ‘Fare-you-well, says Johnny O’Brown.’
You dance in a ring and sing it through,
And then someone kneels down.
She kissed us all and Joe B. Kirk;
But Joe B. did n’t mind a bit.
He walked around and swung his arms
And seemed to be very glad of it.
Then Mr. Jim said he would play,
But Miss Marie, she told him then,
It’s a game for her and the little folks,
And he could go and fish with the men.
Mr. Wells was there, and he had a rope
To tie to a limb and make a swing.
And Mrs. Wells, Mr. Wells’s wife,
Gave me a peach and a chicken-wing.
And I had a liltle cherry pie
And a piece of bread, and after we’tl played
Two other songs, I had some cake
And another wing and some lemonade.