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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

Hunting the Wind

When the fire is burning bright,
And the kettle hums and sings
In the happy winter night,
Children talk of many things:
Talk of mermaids in the sea,
And of fairies in the wood,
Pretty things that ought to be,
And surely would be if they could!

Then the wind comes creeping near,
Tired of fighting with the trees,
List'ning with a sort of fear
To such merry sounds as these;
Crying like a child in pain,
With a foolish ceaseless din,
Knocking on the glass again,
Begging them to let it in!
Outspake little Curlyhead,
This poor wind is taken ill;
Soon it will be lying dead
On the frozen window-sill.
Very cruel children we
If we let it die alone,
If we do not run and see
Why it makes that dreary moan.

And he flung the window wide,
And the wind came tearing through,
Dashing everything aside
With its hulla-bulla-loo!
Blowing both the candles out,
Roaring, rushing, raving by,
Scattering the smoke about,
While the children scream and fly!
Outspake little Curlyhead,
Though his breath he scarce can draw,
Nurse would snatch us off to bed
If this horrid mess she saw!
Hunt the thankless creature low,
Seize it, catch it, if you can.
I will teach it manners, though,
If I live to be a man!

Chubby arms are flung about,
Toddling feet run here and there,
Some would chase the creature out,
Some would tie it to a chair;
While the eldest of the crowd
Shuts the window where she stands,
Little Blue-eyes shouts aloud,
She has caught it in her hands!
Curlyhead, with manly rage,
Stamps his foot and cries Hurrah!
Red-cheeks brings an empty cage,
Where no pretty birdies are;
Little Blue-eyes, fat and fair,
Hollow'd hands above her head,
Moves with cautious footsteps where
Red-cheeks stands with Curlyhead.

Curlyhead the cage doth hold,
Red-cheeks keeps it open wide;
Little Blue-eyes, when she's told,
Thrusts her two fat hands inside.
Ah! they have the fellow now,
Little Blue-eyes shouts anew;
Curlyhead performs a bow,
Red-cheeks makes a curtsey too!
Hang the cage up, if you will,
Clap your hands, ye hunters rare.
But he is so sad and still,
Are you sure that he is there?
Ah! the days are coming when
You'll have many a chase as blind;
Capture, triumph, laugh, and then
But an empty casket find!

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. What Hearest Thou?
  2. To a Little Girl
  3. The Lay of King James I in his Captivity
  4. Odin's Sacrifice
  5. Love for the Young

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