“To a Waterfowl”  by William Cullen Bryant


Whither, ‘midst falling dew,

While glows the heavens with the last steps of day,

Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue

Thy solitary way?


Vainly the fowler’s eye

Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,

As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,

Thy figure floats along.


Seek’st thou the plashy brink

Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,

Or where the rocking billows rise and sink

On the chafed ocean side?


There is a power whose care

Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, --

The desert and illimitable air, --

Lone  wandering, but not lost.


All day thy wings have fann’d

At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;



Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,

Though the dark of night is near.


And soon that toil shall end,

Soon shalt thou find a summer home and rest,

And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend

Soon o’er thy sheltered nest.


Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven

Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart

Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou has given,

And shall not soon depart.


He, who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must treat alone,

Will lead my steps aright.  (1815/1821)


“The Rhodora”  Ralph Walso Emerson

On being asked, Whence is the Flower?


In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,

I found the fresh rhodora in the woods,

Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,

To please the desert and the sluggish brook.

The purple petals, fallen in the pool,

Made the black water with their beauty gay;

Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,

And court the flower that cheapens his array.

Rhodora! If he sages ask thee why

This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,

Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,

Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:

Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!

I never thought to ask, I never knew;

But, in my simple ignorance, suppose

The self-same Power that brought me there brought you. (1847)



“Design” by Robert Frost


I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,

On a white heal-all, holding up a moth

Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth –

Assorted characters of death and blight

Mixed ready to begin the morning right,

Like the ingredients of a witch’s broth –

A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,

And dead wings carried like a paper kite.


What had that flower to do with being white,

The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?

What brought the kindred spider to that height,

And steered the white moth thither in the night?

What but design of darkness to appall?—

If design govern in a thing so small.  (1936)



“For a Lamb” by Richard Eberhart


I saw on the slant hill a putrid lamb,

Propped with the daisies. The sleep looked deep,

The face nudged in the green pillow

But the guts were out for the crows to eat.


Where’s the lamb? Whose tender plaint

Said all for the mute breezes.

Say he’s in the wind somewhere,

Say, there’s a lamb in the daisies. (1936)


“The Red Wheel Barrow” W C Williams

so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white

chickens  (1923)