Christopher Morley

(5 May 1890 – 28 March 1957 / Haverford, Pennslyvania)

The Music Box


AT six-long ere the wintry dawn-
There sounded through the silent hall
To where I lay, with blankets drawn
Above my ears, a plaintive call.

The Urchin, in the eagerness
Of three years old, could not refrain;
Awake, he straightway yearned to dress
And frolic with his clockwork train.

I heard him with a sullen shock.
His sister, by her usual plan,
Had piped us aft at 3 o'clock-
I vowed to quench the little man.

I leaned above him, somewhat stern,
And spoke, I fear, with emphasis-
Ah, how much better, parents learn,
To seal one's sensure with a kiss!

Again the house was dark and still,
Again I lay in slumber's snare,
When down the hall I heard a trill,
A tiny, tinkling, tuneful air-

His music-box! His best-loved toy,
His crib companion every night;
And now he turned to it for joy
While waiting for the lagging light.

How clear, and how absurdly sad
Those tingling pricks of sound unrolled;
They chirped and quavered, as the lad
His lonely little heart consoled.

Columbia, the Ocean's Gem-
(Its only tune) shrilled sweet and faint.
He cranked the chimes, admiring them,
In vigil gay, without complaint.


The treble music piped and stirred,
The leaping air that was his bliss;
And, as I most contritely heard,
I thanked the all-unconscious Swiss!

The needled jets of melody
Rang slowlier and died away-
The Urchin slept; and it was I
Who lay and waited for the day.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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