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Poem by Menella Bute Smedley

The Wounded Daisy

At twilight in beautiful summers,
When all the dew is shed,
And all the singers and hummers
Are safe at home in bed,
In many a nook of the meadows
Fairies may linger and lurk;
Look under the low grass-shadows,
Perhaps you'll see them at work.

Perhaps you'll see them swinging
On see-saw reeds in the dells;
Perhaps you'll hear them ringing
The sweet little heather-bells;
Or setting the lilies steady,
Before they begin to grow;
Or getting the rosebuds ready
Before it is time to blow.
A fairy was mending a daisy
Which some one had torn in half;
Her sisters all thought her crazy,
And only looked on to laugh.
They showed her scores in the hedges,
And scores that grew by the tarn,
And scores on the green field-edges,
But she went on with her darn.

Then round they cluster, and chatter
How each had a flower more fine;
One shook buttercups at her,
And one brought briony-twine,
Strong red poppies to vex her,
Tiny bright-eyes to beguile,
Tall green flags to perplex her;
But she worked on all the while.
She work'd and she sang this ditty,
While insects wonder'd and heard
(They knew by the tone of pity
The song was not from a bird),
Daisy, somebody hurt you!
Are you frighten'd at me?
Patient hope is a virtue,
Wait and you shall see!

Was it a careless mower
Cut your blossom in twain?
I hope his hand will be slower
When he sees you again.
Was it a step unheeding?
Or was it a stormy gale?
Or was it(how you are bleeding!)
A dark malicious snail?
They did not know you would suffer,
I think they had never seen;
Slugs and snails may be rougher,
Perhaps, than they always mean.
Do I not hear one sobbing,
Down just there at my foot?
Or is it only the throbbing
Down in your poor little root?

Daisy, you were so merry
Where you modestly grew;
Earth was generous, very,
Heaven was pleasant for you;
Never teasing your neighbour,
Neither forward nor slack,
Do you feel as I labour
Some of your joy come back
Ah, you tremble a little!
Have I hurt you at last?
If you were not so brittle,
I could mend you so fast.
No, there's nothing distressful,
Only a quiver of bliss,
Daisy, I've been successful!
Grow, and give me a kiss!

Now I've mended you neatly,
All the fairies can see;
Now you look at me sweetly,
Are you grateful to me?
I'll go hiding behind you,
Then in a day or two,
Perhaps a baby will find you,
And I shall hear it coo.
Yes, your cheeks may be whiter
Than the rest of your race;
Other eyes may be brighter,
Others fairer in face;
But no flower that uncloses
Can be precious as you,
Not an army of roses
Fighting all the year through!

Then the fairies confess it,
As that daisy revives;
All come round and caress it,
All so glad that it lives.
No one ventures to doubt it,
Hosts of penitent fays
Make their dance-rings about it,
Sing their songs in its praise.
Years of fading and growing
Pass,the daisy is not!
Sweeter grass-blooms are growing
Still by that little spot.
There each fairy that hover'd
Sang while pausing above,
Here the daisy recover'd,
Here's a footprint of Love!

Menella Bute Smedley

Menella Bute Smedley's other poems:
  1. Song (Take me from these dreary shades)
  2. Windy and Grey Morning
  3. The Little Fair Soul
  4. Once
  5. Hunting the Wind

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