Volume 6, Number 4, Summer 1977
Mary Elizabeth Mahnkeys poems appeared in the Springfield News and Leader and in various newspapers of Taney County for forty years. She won first place in a nation-wide contest held by the Country Home Magazine in 1935, for the best country newspaper correspondent. One loves the story of her ten days spent in Washington, D.C., of her pert remarks and comments. When a sophisticated woman asked "Mrs. Mahnkey, What do you use for money in the Ozarks?" Mrs. Mahnkey answered, "We dont, we go fishing."
A daughter of pioneers, born in the area, in which she lived most of her life in the hills. Most of her poems speak of the things learned from the hills and hollers and streams and the people, her neighbors.
She gave the proceeds from the sale of her books, with the exception of a very small royalty, to the Taney Hills Study Club to be used for the Taney County Library which it is sponsoring.
From Ozark Lyrics published in 1935.
They come when I am churning
Or when Im making bread,
Or when Im hanging out the clothes,
A dancing round my head
Like flocks of yellow butterflies
A dancing in the sun
And with clumsy, toil-worn fingers
I try to capture one.
But I mar the gold dust beauty
Of the fragile flutring wings.
I cannot capture butterflies
But I love the joyous things.
Pink icicles gently tinkled
From the ancient hanging lamp;
Feather flowers bloomed under glass
All musty, cold and damp.
A great conch shell, all pink inside
They held down to my ear
That I might hear the ocean roar
Almost too truly near.
Red roses on the carpet- Black grapes on the old chair
And swans, and harps, and coronets
All carved with wondrous care.
And in that hushed, fantastic room
Where children must be good
I loved the best, the conch shell sea
And those grapes of ebon wood.
The Road To Tuttle's
As I went up to Tuttles
I did not go alone
For dear old friends were with me
By every log and stone.
Johnny-Jump-Up hailed me,
And Buttercup so shy,
And from a ferny ledge
Sweet Blue Bell winked her eye.
Bob White then saluted
With call so clear and sweet,
While his little wife went whirring
From the pathway at my feet.
And there was Long Creek singing
In the valley just below;
While the Redbuds and the Dogwoods
Waved their banners to and fro.
As I went up to Tuttles
I did not go alone,
For dear old friends were with me
By every log and stone.
Perhaps sometime, some where, some place,
Beside a distant shining sea,
We may be judged, not as we are,
But as weve tried to be.
A deserted building by the road,
An abandoned country store
Door and windows boarded up
Closed and locked the door.
The marble ground forsaken
Within the hickory shade,
And weeds have choked the horseshoe court
Where lively games were played.
Where have they gone, the kindly folk
Who once foregathered here
When this old store was crowded
Bright with merriment and cheer?
He was no stern collector,
This merchant loved so well.
"Now, dont you give them steers away
Well let this ride a spell."
Then hed close his blotted ledger
And lay his specks aside
To let another make a profit
Glad the old account could ride.
Here Sally bought her wedding gown,
A strip of flowery lawn,
And in the old log house near by
They danced from dusk til dawn.
Here they came in sorrow
For white sateen and lace
To trim a little coffin
For Wilsons baby, Grace.
Heavy trucks and shining cars
Now crowd the broad highway
That sweeps on past a little store
Where no one stops today.
For they will come again.
They dont need much attention
And very little rain."
Im glad she sowed the hollyhocks
For now they bloom for me.
All up and down and round about,
A rippling, rosy sea-
The hollyhocks my granny sowed
In Eighteen Ninety-three.
And what may I be sowing
That they will pause to say:
"How lovely are the blossoms
We find along our way.
The Old Nurse
Granny was humming an old, old tune
In her sweet voice broken and thin,
Busily making small shapely bags
And tying up seeds within.
"When Ruth Boxs younguns git took down
Straight away she sends for me,
She knows I can drive worm fever out
With my good old punkin seed tea.
Oncet when Doctor Ralph had been called
An left not a powder ner pill,
While Jake Stevens galloped off to town
With Docs perscripshun to fill,
I saved the Stevenses babys life
Fryin onions in polecat grease,
Bindin em hot to her little throat,
An soon she was sleepin in peace."
Watermelon seed and saffron,
Witch hazel bark and rue,
The lining of chicken gizzards,
And toasted egg shells, too;
I knew that catnip and other herbs
Hung from the attic above;
Her smiling daughter said, "Just notions."
But I smiled and said, "Just love."
The Wild Plum Orchard
Planted by winds or wide winged birds,
My wild plum orchard stands
In irregular beauty along the old fence,
Untouched by destroying hands.
I question its birthright with wondering eyes
When I go in the springtime to see
The flowering beauty of ivory and white
Adorning each sweet-smelling tree.
I offer thanksgiving with laughter and song
As I work in the August sun
Piling my basket with rich ruby gems
From this planting that nature has done
If I could live on White Oak Ridge
It seems to me Id ruther.
These river fields so rich and green
They cling, an, clutch, an smother.
I love to feel a clean high wind
That whips the leaves together,
An watch the lights in far off homes
Dance through the rainy weather.
What little breeze comes in this way
Is hot from heavy tillage.
How cool the shady door yards
In my little old home village.
This stiflin corn shets off my breath
Im tired of rakin, mowin.
Id ruther ramble down the ridge
See huckleberries growin.
Walking In The Rain
I like to put on my old coat
And go walking in the rain;
To see the brown buds swelling
And the blue grass show again.
Within the little crooked field,
By Long Creeks curving shore,
A breaking-plow sits in the mud
For the time has come once more
When Neighbor Brown begins with care
His patient yearly toil
To humbly seek gods blessing
On this fragrant bit of soil.
The blue smoke settles lightly,
From his fireplace chimney tall,
And I know he, too, is listening
To Springs clear urgent call.
The cleansing, healing coolness
Sweeps away my heartsick pain,
And I hear Hope once more singing
Through the gentle silvery rain.
When They Killed Jim Lee
I loved the tales my grandsire told,
When life was wild and free
And in the Ozark Mountains
He rode with Jimmy Lee.
Dearer than a brother
This youngster seemed to be,
And I cant forget the story
And the way he looked at me.
His stern dark eyes so wild and fierce,
His hand clenched on his knee-
"Now listen, boy, tis a sorry tale
Of how they killed Jim Lee."
T wuz at a dance at Hamptons
We wuz havin a peck uv fun
When a gang come in from the river
An thought they would make us run.
Some fool shot out the lanterns-
We fit thar in the dark,
Gals an wimmen a-screamin
But none of us missed our mark
Then, some one ripped the paper
Offen the cabin wall
An lit a blaze in the ole fireplace
Jest as I seed Jim fall.
A tall slim cuss bent over him,
I seed a long knife shine,
But I wuz as quick as the stranger
An he tuck the blade uv mine.
Jimmy died jest about mornin
Holdin my hand til the end,
An he grinned when they come to tell us
That down in the river bend
They wuz makin a long, long coffin
For one uv the river men."
O little house, why do you sigh
When gay spring winds come dancing by?
And then, sometimes I see you weep
For bright drops down your gray roof creep.
You weep because we go away
And you will be alone some day?
Theres a twickety-twock on the bridge
Uncle Andy is coming to mill
On the old gray mule, so steady and true,
From over yan side of the hill.
The old gray mule lays back his ears
At the sound of a motor horn,
And a rich powerful car whines down to a creep
Trailing the mule and the corn.
Serene, undismayed, Uncle Andy rides on,
Secure in his right-of-way.
"Let em toot, let em cuss,
Im fust on the bridge,
An Im goin to mill today."
The Good Gray Mare
I havent got a warbling Ford,
I havent got a car,
But I have got a good gray mare
Who takes me near and far.
We go splashing through the rushing creek,
We climb the gravelly ridge.
We pause to view the valley
And the rustic hanging bridge.
The good gray mare can take me
To flowery vales I know,
To jewelled pools of beauty
Where the tourists cannot go.
The Tree Acurst
When eer I passed that grim old oak
I felt a sense of dread,
It spread its arms so wildly
It tossed its blighted head.
The shade it cast was black and still
The earth was bleak and bare;
No flowers, no birds, no nestlings,
No sweet winds lingered there.
Then some one told the story
Of this piteous cursed tree,
And then, I went another way
For fear that I might see
The helpless wretches dying
Swinging from that oak.
Victims of the savage mob
In sable hood and cloak.
Where are you going
Walking the dusty way?
Gay swinging tread,
Proudly held head,
Pride of the U.S.A.
The heights and the depths,
And wild savage lands,
Know you and your banner gay.
At torn Belleau Wood
Unflinching you stood,
Yet, you walk in the dust today?
Pick him up, pick him up,
Big Boy in the car,
Take him on as far as you may.
For he, and not you,
And the Red, White and Blue
Have given us freedom today.
Before The Rain
Learned in sign of moon and star
Is old Pap Byleu.
Knows how to hang a bass
And knock a mallard, too.
Quiet and sad, he watched
The deadly drouth,
A new moon riding all too near
And, then, one night he called for us
The new moon shining through
The cedar tree.
Little horns turned down,
An over-turned canoe,
"A drippin moon
Well sure have rain,"
Said old Pap Byleu.
Granny Blake lived all alone
Beside a woodsey hill.
It was a pleasant place to live
So quiet and so still.
A little orchard squandered
Its riches on the grass,
And friendly hounds ran out to bay
When any one would pass.
The ducks and turkeys waited
At her mossy kitchen door
To follow if she started
Down to the spring once more.
I never left with empty hands
From happy visits there,
It seemed so little did she have
And yet, so much to spare.
From off a dusty little shelf
Shed take an ancient book.
"Now, this is nigh my grannys age,"
Shed say with piercing look,
"An I know youll like to read it,
It was brung from Tennessee;
An you can take it home with you,
But bring it back to me."
Then shed shake her bending peach trees,
And snip her Four oClocks
And tie up a bunch of knobby seed
From her gorgeous hollyhocks.
Today I went to Granny Blakes
And stood by her little bed;
Dying, dying, dying,
Was what the doctor said.
She reached her frail old hand to me
And whispered, weak and low;
"Im mighty proud to see you,
Ive been lookin for you so,
An wait til I am better
An then well go an see
If my ole turkey hen has hatched
Down by the blackthorn tree."
This was the finest gift of all
The many gifts she gave;
This faith, and hope, and courage,
Although she faced the grave.
A dress and apron hanging on the wall,
A little blue sunbonnet, that is all;
And she who dreamed of silver lace and scarlet shawl
Gives thanks for oaken roof, and gray hearthstone,
Forgetting dreams she dreamed when all alone
Before this little cabin was her own.
October School Days
There are flames of red and gold out on the hillside,
And here and there wild grapes show mauve and blue.
The milk weed sheds her tiny silken feathers
And by the pasture bars I wait for you.
I hear you whistling as you cross Big Caney
On the foot log, padded soft in mossy green.
You pause to gaze at the brocaded satin
Blue waters through the floating leaves rich sheen.
How casually you take my slate and school books,
How meekly I follow you along the trail
That leads around the mountain to the schoolhouse
That gleams snow white, out in the cedar vale.
You buzz a rock at a sailing yellow hammer,
Toss me a rich persimmon on the way.
And then there is a pause,
I hear your husky murmur
"You are my girl,
Ill marry you some day."
Ah, love, how many times weve watched the glory
Of autumn burning bright upon the hill.
And though the years have turned my hair to silver
I am your girl, and love, and follow still.
I have planted roses all over the yard,
Roses of degree,
But the plain old fashioned Blush rose
Is all that will bloom for me.
I linger a moment in passing,
As if at a sacred shrine,
For, O, how sweetly blossomed this rose
Near that old home of mine.
The night I read Lena Rivers
Comes back in a mist of pain.
A summer night rich with romance,
A summer night sweet with rain.
The old Blush rose at the window
Leaned in to lighten the gloom,
And always that sweet old story
Comes back in their faint perfume.
They smiled from the tall glass goblet
That mother would place with care
In the midst of the dinner table
When we all were gathered there.
Our little sister loved them
And gathered them in her play,
And I wish that one could be blooming
Where she is sleeping today.
Crossin Wolf Branch Holler,
With ole Rock an my gun,
Uv a suddent I hearn
A fox pack run.
A drum, drum, drum,
Uv soft mouth hounds,
An a slashin slam
As the horsemen come.
Ole Rock come back
With his tail tucked down,
As sumthin passed
Without a sound.
Sumthin thin an white an fleet
That run with wings
As much as feet.
The stars went out,
The moon turned red,
The hair riz straight
Upon my head.
An ole Rock run off
An never come back
As them hounds went by,
A hellish pack.
Then I remembered
What grandpap said
Uv the hanted holler
Where the moon turned red.
House-cleaning time, she always leaves untouched
A rusty fish hook, and a banjo string
Upon a nail, beneath the old framed print,
And sighs to know it once again is spring.
Her rosary which she dumbly tells,
With stabbing pain, and slowly dripping tears,
That now with flowery April come again,
He has been absent, is it sixteen years?
How well he loved the spring, her handsome lad;
The jewels of the dew, the silver rain,
The greening hills, the merry little creek,
The whip-poor-will down in the twilight lane.
A call to him in every sighing breeze
Or lilting music from a nearby dance;
And, then, he heard a silver bugle note
That called him to a grave in sullen France.
What if some evening when the stars were shining
And wind-blown clouds were floating cold and thin,
Id come for you, as in the distant days, dear,
With trembling fingers, would you let me in?
Abashed, amazed, to see the old love glowing
The years of glory, rapture yet to be-
Would you cast his garments down that you were mending
And close his cabin door to go with me?
Theyve closed the doors at Cedar Springs,
The school house on the hill.
The play ground is deserted,
The tuneful bell is still.
The path down to the school house spring
Is lost in weeds and brush,
No loitering little lad awaits
To hear the hermit thrush.
A motor bus comes rushing
For our little ones today,
For these modern little youngsters
Must be taught the modern way.
I miss the school bells music,
It seemed a challenge bold
To all the powers of darkness
Down from the days of old,
When brave men made this clearing
And set this temple here
To educate their children
In ways they held so dear.
No time then for basketball
And making paper flowers,
For life was real and earnest,
Not idle playful hours.
I know I am old-fashioned,
But let us try to save
Some of the precious heritage
From hearts so true and brave.
Maybe, a little Lincoln,
Lost in his fiery dream,
Is cast aside, heart-broken-
He could not make the team.
Little Louisa Alcott
May come again, too late;
Lost, lost in this mad shuffle
She could not rouge nor date.
O, silent little schoolhouse,
Out on the cedar glade,
I sorrow at the havoc
So-called Progress has made.
Perhaps, had I not tried to be too wise, too good,
And joined the others in the lacy wood,
I, too, might come, with flowers and ferns and moss
And not this sorrow and this bitter loss.
Content, I watched them go their laughing way
And stayed behind, to meditate, to pray.
Complacent, proud, because I thought I knew
The worthier and the holier things to do.
Exultant, in my vain and sinful pride
That they, not I, were lightly satisfied.
God was not at home
To hear my prayers that day
For He walked in the shining woods
Where the others were at play.
While the others whirled like hollyhocks
In their gaily colored little frocks,
She leaned against the cabin wall
And no one noticed her at all.
The fiddle sang, the banjo twanged,
And Wild Jim Jones his big fist banged
Upon the bench along the wall
Where he leaned back to shout and call:
"Howll you swap, howll you trade,
Your purty gal fer my ole maid?"
She saw him smile as he danced by,
A mocking smile, with twinkling eye.
He was so tall, and dark and slim.
How ardently she worshipped him.
"Swing em around, an a doe-see doe;
Swing em around, an a-let em go."
Girlish cries and laughter shrill;
The dance was done, the music still.
Her flower-like head bent lower and lower
"Til she could not see across the floor.
The man she loved came to her side,
Leaned over her as if to hide
Her loveliness from other eyes.
She stared at him in sweet surprise,
Amazed to hear him lightly say:
"Im seein you home, les break away."
"When I get big I will bring you
A blue silk dress and a ring."
This is the promise he made me
When he was a little thing.
O, the love in that childish promise
Made to me long ago
When my hair was bright as sunshine
That is now like winter snow.
Still the little feet follow,
Still the little hands cling,
Still I hear that sweet promise:
"A blue silk dress and a ring."
The Log Church
They have builded a church of sycamore logs
Down in the Ozark Hills;
Near by the rippling water,
Near music of whip-poor-wills.
A sacred shrine there in the mountains,
Where old fires of holiness glow,
And from ridges and rocky hollows
Come people I used to know.
Gathering at early candle light
Just as we used to do
When we bashfully sat together
Young lovers, ardent and true.
With sly jokes of the marrying parson,
Our kind old Uncle John Speer,
Who baptized, and buried, and married us
For nigh onto forty year.
O, take me back to my Ozarks,
To the little log church on the hill,
To find my lost faith and courage
And old freinds who love me still.
Playthings again on my kitchen floor,
A brave cookey man to make once more.
And the old coffee mill is a wonderful thing;
He hauls it around on a gingham string.
And, resting my cheek on his curls of gold,
I forget I am gray, and heavy and old.
And forget that tis "Granny" the sweet lips say
Instead of the "Mommy" of yesterday.
Bud was a carpenter, light with a hammer,
Skilled and clever with plane and with saw.
Swore with decision, drank with precision,
Eyed with suspicion the men of the law.
Down by the river a baby was dying,
Young parents helpless, and stricken and wild.
Penniless, destitute, strangers just passing,
Halted when death reached out for their child.
In a rude little camp there by the deep water,
And standing near by their poor little car,
Baby had sickened and ended their seeking
And hoping for better times, traveling afar.
When they learned the plight of the stranger
Quickly the kind hearted hill-folk drew nigh.
They brought the old doctor and food and clean clothing
And wept when they knew that baby would die.
Bud made the coffin, tiny and dainty,
Still and subdued he worked through the night;
Rough brown hands, as light as a womans
Smoothing and fitting the lace soft and white.
Here was a miracle in the old work shop.
Little white coffin made with such ease;
In his dark eyes often a tear drop
Doing his best for the "Least One of These".
An Ear For Music
She had an ear for music,
The neighbors used to say
As they gathered in our happy home
To hear her sing and play.
She caught and held the rhythm
Of winging birds and bees,
She lightly snatched the raptures
Of the singing, sighing breeze.
Now her little childrens voices
With her sweet music blend.
For that quaint old cottage organ
Is still her faithful friend,
For that mystic gift, God given,
Brings from distant, dreamy spheres
Rich melody and glory
Through all these later years.
My black hen talks to me of many things
Cuddling her brood beneath her ragged wings,
Of winged death, and things in the dark wood,
Of love and fear, that throb with motherhood.
From the man-made lake on the mountain,
From a civilized job with men,
Comes Andy back to the river
Fishing and idling again.
He casts off the shackles of labor
For riches other than bread,
Stumbling, and cursing, and sweating
Through the rocks in the river bed.
With a magical twist of his own black art
And a devilish crooked grin,
He dragged forth a struggling monster
Battling with hackle and fin,
Gleaming there in the twilight,
Turquoise, and silver, and gold-
What are codes and statutes to Andy?
He is the Law of the old.
I took their gifts and thanked them,
Soft slippers, little shawl,
Gray prison bars for wan old age
Not meant for me at all.
For I go dancing with light feet,
A red rose in my hair,
While they stand and offer somber gifts
Beside my easy chair.
A Cabin In The Ozarks
A cabin in the Ozarks
Is the happiest place I know
When the frogs begin their song
And March winds start to blow.
When the dogwood trees are shining
On the hills in robes of white,
Then I hunt my fishing tackle
For tis now the blue gills bite.
A cabin in the Ozarks
In the summers dreamy haze
Is where I love to linger,
Loitering through the quiet days.
Now the cornfields are enticing
All the squirrels for miles around,
And I take my old gun with me
Where the frisky folks are found.
When the autumn winds are shifting
And the hills in glory glow,
And the wild ducks start their drifting
And the foxhounds chanting go:
Wild grapes, nuts, pawpaws, persimmons
Hang in Natures festal hall.
O, a cabin in the Ozarks
Is the finest in the fall.
This cabin in the Ozarks
Has a fireplace deep and wide,
A pot a-stewing on the hearth
And my old dog at my side.
I can see a big wild turkey
In a white oak on the hill
Where the frosty ridge is sparkling
In the moonlight, cold and still.
And I think Ill stop my wanderings
For this place that I have found,
In the blue-hazed Ozark Mountains
Is just right, the whole yearround.
She was a trader,
She was the one
Who tole him to swap
For that long ole gun.
An Ill swear, by gonny,
The next thing we knowed
He had swapped that gun
To a guy on the road,
One uv these touristes
Fer a new ottymatick
Er I hope I may die.
That danged fine gun
Soon went fer a cow.
Now follow me clost
Fer Im tellin you how
They kept on tradin
Til now they own
A good little farm
An have money to loan,
She was the trader
An watches him yit
When they gather aroun
To whittle an spit.
Hits often the talk
Uv the settlement
That hes the only Hudson
Plum to the top
In this game uv life
An we know twuz becase
Uv his watchful wife.
Not one was fulfilled,
But duty and service
A richness distilled
That made of her kitchen
A sweet smelling shrine
Like spices, or roses, or sparkling wine.
Her marble cake was a work of real art
For slicing revealed a swan and a heart.
He squinted down a long pine ridge
And marked a tree.
Three chopped out notches with his axe
That all might see.
He stood, a dauntless figure
In the sun,
Leathery jeans, coonskin cap
And long old gun.
A sweeping circle there he traced
Around the deep,
Where canyons cut into the mountain
Wild and steep.
Deep set gray eyes
Beneath that furry cap
Spied out that narrow pass
Through Saw Tooth Gap.
In dark rich leather garb,
With powerful glass,
A youngster eyes this ancient trail
And says: "Some class."
Machinery rumbles through the hills
And giants fall;
Grand old oaks that bore aloft,
Serene and tall,
Three chopped out notches
That once showed the way
To where the trading post
Out yonder lay.
Saw Tooth Gap is ravaged,
And placid vale and ridge
I married one of the fool fightin Carrigons
Never been sorry a day.
Though a-fightin and shovin
Tis me he is lovin
An helpin along the rough way.
Hes brave an hes true,
My fool fightin Carrigon,
An marigolds bloom round our door.
The kettle keeps singin
An sunbeams keep flingin
Their hands full of gold on the floor.
He was a high-hat, pompous and stately.
(In anguish I twisted my apron strings
Wealth and dignity are fearsome things)
Wondering what I should try to say
To this potentate who had come my way.
(Twisting and folding my apron strings
Wealth and dignity are fearsome things.)
Then he stooped to caress my flowering moss
He smiled at my rose on its cedar cross.
And I dropped my twisted apron strings
For roses and gardens are kindred things.
Begging for bread, stones instead
Were coldly given me.
Yet from these stones I built a wall
Both strong and fair to see.
Theres a fruitful vine, rich olives shine
Along my stone wall there,
And a shining white dove, tells of His love
And His answer to my prayer.
When Ulys Waited
Ulys waited patiently
His young face set and grim
Lying in the shadows
When day was growing dim.
Heedless of the beauty
Of fern and mountain pink,
Crushed them as he lay there
On Low Gaps rocky brink.
A nameless babe was crying
In a cabin on the hill,
And his little sister dying
With her sweet face shamed and still.
His gray eyes watched the trail way
Straight down a ghastly line
That lay along blue deadly steel
Laid in the tangled vine.
Lon Beasleys mare was grazing
There in the Low Gap Pass,
And they found Lon Beasley sprawling
With his face down in the grass.
The Bald Knobbers
Dave King, the unafraid,
And my dad the same,
Found evil crime and trouble
When to these hills they came.
Grim, and sad, and resolute
Through glad or stormy weather
Vigilant and valiant
Rode these two together.
Oath-bound to service
Cold blue steel in leather,
Out to the distant signal fire
Light as a gray hawks feather
Rode Dave King and my dad
Dave King and my dad
They helped to bring
Peace into these mountains
My dad and old Dave King.
I went back to try to find
A treasure I had lost.
Back down a lonely rocky road
All black with early frost.
A jewel known as courage
Set in the pearls of trust,
By going back I found it
Untouched with mold or rust.
Trees In Winter
I think the trees are beautiful in winter,
Lances of steel against the evening sky;
Casements for the first pale stars of twilight,
Battlements for darkness marching nigh.
Lightly he knocked at Lifes doorways,
Lightly he stepped inside,
But the riches within could not hold him
And he other and brighter ways tried.
Heart-weary and worn from the seeking
For this something he never had found,
He opened a somber dark portal,
It closed, without glimmer or sound.
I did not like the folks camped by the old tree,
Their ways were far too wild for quiet folks like me.
I thought they went about too lightly clad
And wondered if they could be really bad?
When they had gone, and I went down that way,
No trash nor filth was left, to mark their little stay.
Amazed, I found, tacked on my sycamore,
A little poem, that someone lightly tore
From the pages of a paper lightly read,
A lovely poem about an old homestead
Down in a vale, amongst the moss and flowers.
And now, I feel more kindly toward these summer guests of ours.
I Have Found Beauty
I have found beauty
In commonplace things,
In a blue gingham apron
With crisply tied strings.
I freshly washed windows,
With checked curtains brief,
In the mottled rose gray
Of a frost-bitten leaf.
Ruby red velvet
In a tiny toad stool;
Silky green plush
In a polliwog pool.
Because we walked the woodland trails
So happy hand in hand
Because I saw his bare foot prints
Within the shining sands
I will not have a motor car
For I know that I would see
That gallant laughing little lad
Who used to walk with me.
And now that I may have a car
Still walking I will go
Because I could not buy for him
The boots he wanted so.
Walk softly, walk softly,
And maybe youll hear
A little rock talking
So sharp, and so clear-
What is it saying
Listen, my dear
"I have been here for ages
And still think it queer
That mortals go walking
In doubt and in fear
When always the sunshine
And water are near.
I love the little pitcher, and the little pot
In shining, lustrous brown, that brews my tea;
I love the little stream that sings all night
With cheerful voice, its little melody.
And I think God loves all little, lowly things
For when He sought to save a world by sin defiled
No miracle in flaming gold He wrought
But in a manger, laid a little child.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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