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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

The Little Bird

The father sits in his lonely room,
Outside sings a little bird.
But the shadows are laden with death and gloom,
And the song is all unheard.
The father's heart is the home of sorrow;
His breast is the seat of grief!
Who will hunt the paper for him on the morrow -
Who will bring him sweet relief
From wearing his thoughts with innocent chat?
Who will find his slippers and bring his hat?
Still the little bird sings
And flutters her wings;
The refrain of her song is, 'Gos knows best!
He giveth His little children rest.'
What can she know of these sorrowful things?

The mother sits by the desolate hearth,
And weeps o'er a vacant chair.
Sorrow has taken the place of mirth -
Joy has resigned to despair.
Bitter the cup the mother is drinking,
So bitter the tear-drops start.
Sad are the thoughts the mother is thinking -
Oh, they will break her heart.
Who will on errands, and romp and play,
And mimic the robins the livelong day?
Still the little bird sings
And flutters her wings;
'God reigns in heaven, and He will keep
The dear little children that fall asleep.'
What can she know of these sorrowful things?

Grandmother sits by the open door,
And her tears fall down like rain.
Was there ever a household so sad before,
Will it ever be glad agaiin?
Many unwelcome thoughts come flitting
Into the granddame's mind.
Who will take up the stitches she drops in knitting?
Who will her snuff-box find?
Who'll bring her glasses, and wheel her chair,
And tie her kerchief, and comb her hair?
Still the little bird sings
And flutters her wings;
'God above doeth all things well,
I sang it the same when my nestlings fell.'
Ah! this knows the bird of these sorrowful things.

Submitted: Monday, May 19, 2003

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