The Winter King
By Hannah Flagg Gould
Oh! what will become of thee, poor little bird?
The muttering storm in the distance is heard;
The rough winds are waking, the clouds growing black,
They’ll soon scatter snowflakes all over thy back!
From what sunny clime hast thou wandered away?
And what art thou doing this cold winter day?
“I’m picking the gum from the old peach tree;
The storm doesn’t trouble me. Pee, dee, dee!”
But what makes thee seem so unconscious of care?
The brown earth is frozen, the branches are bare:
And how canst thou be so light-hearted and free,
As if danger and suffering thou never should’st see,
When no place is near for thy evening nest,
No leaf for thy screen, for thy bosom no rest?
“Because the same Hand is a shelter for me,
That took off the summer leaves. Pee, dee, dee!”
But man feels a burden of care and of grief,
While plucking the cluster and binding the sheaf:
In the summer we faint, in the winter we’re chilled,
With ever a void that is yet to be filled.
We take from the ocean, the earth, and the air,
Yet all their rich gifts do not silence our care.
“A very small portion sufficient will be,
If sweetened with gratitude. Pee, dee, dee!”
But soon there’ll be ice weighing down the light bough,
On which thou art flitting so playfully now;
And though there’s a vesture well fitted and warm,
Protecting the rest of thy delicate form,
What, then, wilt thou do with thy little bare feet,
To save them from pain, mid the frost and the sleet?
“I can draw them right up in my feathers, you see,
To warm them, and fly away. Pee, dee, dee!”
I thank thee, bright monitor; what thou hast taught
Will oft be the theme of the happiest thought;
We look at the clouds; while the birds have an eye
To Him who reigns over them, changeless and high.
And now little hero, just tell me thy name,
That I may be sure whence my oracle came.
“Because, in all weather, I’m merry and free,
They call me the Winter King. Pee, dee, dee!”