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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

What May Happen to a Thimble

Come about the meadow,
Hunt here and there,
Where's Mother's thimble?
Can you tell where?
Jane saw her wearing it,
Fan saw it fall,
Ned isn't sure
That she dropp'd it at all.

Has a mouse carried it
Down to her hole
Home full of twilight,
Shady, small soul?
Can she be darning there,
Ere the light fails,
Small ragged stockings
Tiny torn tails?
Did a finch fly with it
Into the hedge,
Or a reed-warbler
Down in the sedge?
Are they carousing there,
All the night through?
Such a great goblet,
Brimful of dew!

Have beetles crept with it
Where oak roots hide?
There they have settled it
Down on its side?
Neat little kennel,
So cosy and dark,
Has one crept into it,
Trying to bark?
Have the ants cover'd it
With straw and sand?
Roomy bell-tent for them,
So tall and grand;
Where the red soldier-ants
Lie, loll and lean
While the blacks steadily
Build for their queen.

Has a huge dragon-fly
Borne it (how cool!)
To his snug dressing-room,
By the clear pool?
There will he try it on?
For a new hat
Nobody watching
But one water-rat?
Did the flowers fight for it,
While, undescried,
One selfish daisy
Slipp'd it aside;
Now she has plunged it in
Close to her feet
Nice private water-tank
For summer heat?

Did spiders snatch at it,
Wanting to look
At the bright pebbles
Which lie in the brook?
Now are they using it
(Nobody knows!),
Safe little diving-bell,
Shutting so close?
Did a rash squirrel there,
Wanting to dine,
Think it some foreign nut,
Dainty and fine.
Can he have swallow'd it,
Up in that oak?
We, if we listen,
Shall soon hear him choke.
Has it been buried by
Cross imps and hags,
Wanting to see us
Like beggars in rags?
Or have fays hidden it,
Lest we should be
Tortured with needlework
After our tea?
Hunt for it, hope for it,
All through the moss;
Dip for it, grope for it
'Tis such a loss!
Jane finds a drop of dew,
Fan finds a stone;
I find the thimble,
Which is Mother's own!

Run with it, fly with it
Don't let it fall;
All did their best for it
Mother thanks all.
Just as we give it her,
Think what a shame!
Ned says he's sure
That it isn't the same!

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. The Little Fair Soul
  2. A Prayer for One Beloved
  3. The Little Queen
  4. The Tournament
  5. The Lay of King James I in his Captivity

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