John Greenleaf Whittier

(17 December 1807 – 7 September 1892 / Haverhill, Massachusetts)

John Greenleaf Whittier Poems

481. Forgiveness 1/3/2003
482. Barbara Frietchie 1/3/2003
483. In School-Days 1/3/2003
Best Poem of John Greenleaf Whittier

In School-Days

Still sits the school-house by the road,
A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry-vines are creeping.

Within, the master's desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife's carved initial;

The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door's worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves' icy fretting. ...

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What The Birds Said

The birds against the April wind
Flew northward, singing as they flew;
They sang, "The land we leave behind
Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew."

"O wild-birds, flying from the South,
What saw and heard ye, gazing down?"
"We saw the mortar's upturned mouth,
The sickened camp, the blazing town!

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