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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

A Child to a Rose

White Rose, talk to me!
I don't know what to do.
Why do you say no word to me,
Who say so much to you?
I'm bringing you a little rain,
And I shall be so proud
If, when you feel it on your face,
You take me for a cloud.

Here I come so softly,
You cannot hear me walking;
If I take you by surprise,
I may catch you talking.
Tell all your thoughts to me,
Whisper in my ear;
Talk against the winter,
He shall never hear.
I can keep a secret
Since I was five years old.
Tell if you were frighten'd
When first you felt the cold;
And, in the splendid summer,
While you flush and grow,
Are you ever out of heart
Thinking of the snow?

Did it feel like dying
When first your blossoms fell?
Did you know about the spring?
Did the daisies tell?
If you had no notion,
Only fear and doubt,
How I should have liked to see
When you found it out!
Such a beautiful surprise!
What must you have felt,
When your heart began to stir,
As the snow began to melt!
Do you mind the darkness
As I used to do?
You are not as old as I:
I can comfort you.

The little noises that you hear
Are winds that come and go.
The world is always kind and safe,
Whether you see or no;
And if you think that there are eyes
About you near and far,
Perhaps the fairies are watching,Ч
I know the angels are.
I think you must be lonely
When all the colours fail,
And moonlight makes the garden
So massy and so pale;
And anything might come at last
Out of those heaps of shade.
I would stay beside you
If I were not afraid!

Children have no right to go
Abroad in night and gloom;
But you are as safe in the garden
As I am in my room.
White Rose, are you tired
Of staying in one place?
Do you ever wish to see
The wild-flowers face to face?
Do you know the woodbines,
And the big, brown-crested reeds?
Do you wonder how they live
So friendly with the weeds?
Have you any work to do
When you've finish'd growing?
Shall you teach your little buds
Pretty ways of blowing?

Do you ever go to sleep?
Once I woke by night
And look'd out of the window,
And there you stood, moon-whiteЧ
Moon-white in a mist of darkness,
With never a word to say;
But you seem'd to move a little,
And then I ran away.
I should have felt no wonder
After I hid my head,
If I had found you standing
Moon-white beside my bed.
White Rose, do you love me?
I only wish you'd say.
I would work hard to please you
If I but knew the way.

It seems so hard to be loving,
And not a sign to see
But the silence and the sweetness
For all as well as me.
I think you nearly perfect,
In spite of all your scorns;
But, White Rose, if I were you,
I wouldn't have those thorns!

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. Love in Sorrow
  2. The King's Beard
  3. The Wounded Daisy
  4. The Captivity of Coeur de Lion
  5. Lilies

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