30 January 2014

Given, not Hired

By Ethel Lynn.
We hired the roof above our heads,
And walls to gird us round,
The garden walk, the drooping vine,
The rose and blossom mound;
But oh, that streak of sunset sky
Between the budding trees,
The moonlight on the little porch,
Who shall we pay for these?
We have musicians too, all day,
Whose flutes we did not bring;
An oriole trills all the while,
And saucy robins sing;
While in the bush or evergreen
A cat-bird, gray and shy,
A solo gives. Who pays the birds
For all these songs? Not I.
Just when the twilight turns to dusk,
And reveries are sweet,
A piping voice, exceeding small,
Sounds by lay idle feet,
And birds me listen to its tale
Of home and household fire —
Our cricket, that we did not bring,
The song we did not hire.
The summer wind that lifts the leaves
Then whispers soft and low,
How roses and syringas bloom,
How sweet acacias blow,
With memories of childless hours
In garden pathways sweet,
Who sends the southwind to my door,
With soft unshodden feet!
Nay, these are gifts one cannot buy,
Not pay in market gold;
One debt uncancelled evermore
When cycles shall have rolled,
So, lifting up a thankful heart
To God, Who gives, I cry;
"Thou knowest, Lord, I cannot pay
For all these things: not I."
June 30, 1871. McConnelsville South-eastern Independent 1(13): 1.