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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

1. BED IN SUMMER 3. WINTER'S BLESSINGS


by Robert Louis Stevenson Pretty little snowflakes
In winter I get up at night Falling to the ground;
And dress by yellow candlelight Here is one, there is one,
In summer, quite the other way, Everywhere they're found
I have to go to bed by day.
See them fall so gently
I have to go to bed and see Through the frosty air,
The birds still hopping on the tree, Every little snowflake
Or hear the grown-up people's feet Has its beauties rare.
Still going past me in the street.
Soon the ground is covered
And does it not seem hard to you, With the pretty snow,
When all the sky is clear and blue, Then we see the snowbirds
And I should like so much to play, Flying to and fro.
To have to go to bed by day?
Happy little creatures —
2. WHEN CHILDREN EAT Do not reap or sow,
by Margaret Horst Yoder Yet the Master feeds them,
A little pig will squeal and squeal Even in the snow.
When it is hungry for a meal
It does not bow its head and pray, 4. I LIKE LITTLE PUSSY
For food that comes to it each day. by Jane Taylor
It gobbles down its food too fast, I like little Pussy, her coat is so warm;
Then settles in the mud at last And if I don’t hurt her, she'll do me no harm.
So I’ll not pull her tail, nor drive her away,
Now listen, dears, and you will know, But Pussy and I very gently will play.
That children never should act so.
They should not whine, nor should they squeal She shall sit by my side, and I’ll give her some food;
When they are hungry for a meal And she'll love me because I am gentle and good
With patience they should wait for meals, I’ll pat little Pussy and then she will purr,
And sing, instead of giving squeals. And thus show her thanks for my kindness to her.

And they should pray before they eat I’ll not pinch her ears, nor tread on her paw,
To thank the Lord for bread and meat Lest I should provoke her to use her sharp claw;
Please, do not gobble down your food, I never will vex her, nor make her displeased,
But eat like little children should. For Pussy can’t bear to be worried or teased.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

5. MERRY SUNSHINE 7. A BIRD'S LESSON


"Good morning, Merry Sunshine, A little bird, with feathers brown,
How did you wake so soon? Sat singing on a tree;
You’ve scared the little stars away The song was very soft and low,
And shined away the moon." But sweet as it could be.

"I saw you go to sleep last night And all the people passing by
Before I ceased my playing; Looked up to see the bird
How did you get ‘way over there? Whose singing was the sweetest
And where have you been staying?" That ever they had heard.
I never go to sleep, dear child,
But all the bright eyes looked in vain;
I just go round to see
For birdie was so small,
The little children of the east,
And, with a modest dark brown coat,
Who rise and watch for me."
He made no show at all.
"I waken all the birds and bees
And flowers on my way, "Dear Papa," little Gracie said,
And now come back to see the child "Where can this birdie be?
Who stayed out late at play." If I could only sing like that
I’d sit where folks could see."
6. FIREFLIES
by Elizabeth Jenkins "I hope my little girl will learn
I like the warm dark summer night, A lesson from that bird;
When fireflies burn their golden light, And try to do what good she can —
And flit so softly through the air, Not to be seen nor heard.”
Now up, now down, now over there!
“This birdie is content to sit
They sparkle in my apple tree, Unnoticed by the way,
And from the grass they wink at me, And sweetly sing his Maker's praise,
And turn their lights on one by one; From dawn to close of day.”
I think it would be lots of fun
If I could shine at evening, too, “So live, my child, to do some good,
Just as the little fireflies do. Let life be short or long;
Though people may forget your looks,
But Mother tells me I can be They'll not forget your song."
A little light for all to see,
A little candle clear and bright
That shines for Jesus day and night.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

8. SERVING JESUS 10. LITTLE THINGS


Children’s hands can work for Jesus, A raindrop is a little thing
Glad to do His holy will; Many make the showers;
Helping playmates, serving Mother, Little moments flitting by,
They are serving Jesus still. Make up all the hours.

One little star at close of day


Let your hands be quick and true; Faintly seems to twinkle,
God will give them work to do. Till at length the shining host,
All the blue besprinkle.
Children's lips can move for Jesus,
Speaking gently all the while, A smile is but a little thing
Making other people happy, To the happy giver,
With a love-word and a smile. Yet can leave a blessed calm
On our life's rough river.
Let your speech in kindness fall;
Jesus listens to it all. Gentle words are never lost,
Howe'er small they're seeming;
Children's feet can run for Jesus, Sunny rays of love are they,
O'er our pathway gleaming.
And for Him sweet comfort take
To the hearts bowed low in sorrow,
11. TRY, TRY AGAIN
Blessing all for His dear sake. by T. H. Palmer
‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Let your footsteps gladness bring, Try, try again;
Doing errands for the King. If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;
9. THE WIND AND THE LEAVES Then your courage should appear,
"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day, For if you will persevere,
"Come over the meadows with me and play. You will conquer, never fear,
Put on your dresses of red and gold, — Try, try again.
For summer is gone, and the days grow cold.”
Once or twice, though you should fail,
Soon as the leaves heard the wind's loud call, Try, try again;
Down they came fluttering one and all. If you would at last prevail,
Over the brown fields they danced and flew, Try, try again;
Singing the soft little songs they knew. If we strive, 'tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
Dancing and whirling, the little leaves went; What should you do in the case?
Winter had called them, and they were content; Try, try again
Soon fast asleep in their earthy beds,
The snow laid a coverlet over their heads. If you find your task is hard,
Try, try again;
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try again
All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

12. WHO TAUGHT THE BIRDS? 14. FRIENDS


by Jane Taylor by Abbie Farwell Brown
Who taught the bird to build her nest How good to lie a little while
Of softest wool, and hay, and moss? And look up through the tree!
Who taught her how to weave it best, The sky is like a kind, big smile
And lay the tiny twigs across? Bent sweetly over me.

Who taught the busy bee to fly The sunshine flickers through the lace
Among the sweetest herbs and flowers, Of leaves above my head;
And lay her store of honey by, And kisses me about the face,
Providing food for winter hours? Like Mother, before bed.

Who taught the little ant the way The wind comes stealing o'er the grass
Her narrow cell so well to bore To whisper pretty things;
And through the pleasant summer day And though I cannot see him pass,
To gather up her winter store? I feel his careful wings.

‘Twas God who taught them all the way, And high above the clouds I know
And gave the little creatures skill; That God is watching, too;
He teaches children, when they pray, He loves me and He always sees,
To know and do His heavenly will. Each little thing I do.

13. WHAT ROBIN TOLD So many gentle friends are near,


How do robins build their nests? Whom one can scarcely see,
Robin Redbreast told me. A child should never feel a fear,
First, a wisp of amber hay Wherever he may be.
In a pretty round they lay;
15. BEING THANKFUL
Then some shreds of downy floss,
God is love and kindness
Feathers, too, and bits of moss To us all below;
Woven with a sweet, sweet song; On the just and unjust
This way, that way, and around. Sendeth rain and snow.
That’s what Robin told me.
Let us e'er be thankful
For His love to us.
Where do robins build their nests? He's so kind and faithful,
Robin Redbreast told me. Giving blessings thus.
Up among the leaves so deep,
Where the sunbeams scarcely creep; Let us ask the Saviour,
Long before the winds are cold, As we kneel to pray,
Help us to be thankful
Long before the leaves are gold,
More and more each day.
Bright-eyed stars will peep and see
Baby robins, one, two, three; Thankful in the morning,
That’s what Robin told me. Thankful noon and night;
Thankful for the raindrops,
Thankful for the light.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

16. KIND AT HOME 18. PLEASE, THANK YOU,


I’d like for folks to say of me, AND PARDON ME
No matter where I roam, Please, thank you, and pardon me,
"That child is nice and gentle-but Are such nice words to say
She's sweeter far at home.” To Teacher and to little friends
For what they do each day.
"Her temper never does she lose,
She's patient as can be; "Please, I need some crayons now."
She always strives to spread content, "I thank you, if I may."
Among the family. And, “Pardon me, I did not hear.
What is that you say?"
"She always tidies up her room;
And like a gentle maid, Please, thank you, and pardon me,
She strives in countless little ways, Are such nice words to say.
To be of some real aid. Try them once and try them twice,
You’ll like to talk that way.
"She welcomes, with a friendly smile,
The neighbors as them come; 19. WHERE GO THE BOATS?
She's quite a nice girl anywhere — by Robert Louis Stevenson
But sweeter far at home." Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand,
17. ON GUARD It flows along forever,
Guard, my child, thy tongue, With trees on either hand.
That it speak no wrong:
Let no evil word pass o'er it; Green leaves a-floating,
Set the watch of truth before it, Castles of the foam,
That it speak no wrong; Boats of mine a-boating —
Guard, my child, thy tongue. Where will all come home?

Guard, my child, thine eyes; On goes the river,


Prying is not wise: And out past the mill,
Let them look on what is right; Away down the valley,
From all evil turn their sight Away down the hill.
Prying is not wise:
Guard, my child, thine eyes. Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Guard, my child, thine ear, Other little children
Wicked words will sear. Shall bring my boats ashore.
Let no evil word come in,
That may cause thy soul to sin;
Wicked words will sear
Guard, my child, thine ear.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

20. THE LITTLE BUSY BEE 22. DON’T GIVE UP


by Isaac Watts by Phoebe Gary
How doth the little busy bee If you’ve tried and have not won,
Improve each shining hour, Never stop for crying;
And gather honey all the day All that’s good and great is done
From every opening flow’r! Just by patient trying.

How skillfully she builds her cell! Though young birds, in flying, fall,
How neat she spreads the wax! Still their wings grow stronger,
And labours hard to store it well And the next time they can keep
With the sweet food she makes. Up a little longer.

In works of labour or of skill, Though the sturdy oak has known


I would be busy, too; Many a wind that bowed her,
For Satan finds some mischief still She has ris’n again and grown
For idle hands to do. Loftier and prouder.

In books, or work, or healthy play


If by easy work you beat,
Let my first years be passed,
Who the more will prize you?
That I may give for ev’ry day,
Gaining victory from defeat,
Some good account at last.
That’s the test that tries you.
21. TWO SEEDS
23. PRAYER
I hid a selfish little thought,
I know not by what methods rare;
To think and think about.
I did not know it would be caught But this I know: God answers prayer.
Or ever be found out; I know that He has given His Word,
But it was like a little seed, Which tells me prayer is always heard
And it began to sprout! And will be answered, soon or late;
It grew into a little weed, And so I pray and calmly wait.
And blossomed in a pout!
I know not if the blessing sought
I hid another little thought, Will come in just the way I thought,
‘Twas pleasant, sweet, and kind; But leave my prayer with Him alone
So if this time it should be caught, Whose will is wiser than my own,
I knew I shouldn't mind. Assured that He will grant my quest
I thought about it, hour by hour; Or send some answer far more blest.
‘Twas growing all the while,
It blossomed in a lovely flower,
A happy little smile!

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

24. GOD IS LIKE THIS 26. THE GOLDEN KEYS


by Rowena Bennet A bunch of golden keys is mine
I cannot see the wind at all To make each day with gladness shine.
Or hold it in my hand;
"Good morning," that's the golden key
And yet I know there is a wind
That unlocks every day for me.
Because it swirls the sand.
I know there is a wondrous wind, When evening comes, "Good night," I say,
Because I glimpse its power And close the door of each glad day.
Whenever it bends low a tree
Or sways the smallest flower. When at the table, "If you please,"
I take from off my bunch of keys.
And God is very much like this,
Invisible as air, When friends give anything to me,
I cannot touch or see Him, yet I use the little, “Thank you,” key.
I know that He is there
Because I glimpse His wondrous works "Excuse me," "Beg your pardon," too,
And goodness everywhere. When by mistake some harm I do.

Or if unkindly harm I’ve given,


25. WHICH LOVED BEST? With I’m sorry,” I shall be forgiven.
by Joy Allison (Mary A. Cragin)
"I love you, Mother," said little John; On a golden ring these keys I’ll bind
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on, This is its motto, "Be ye kind."
And he was off to the garden swing,
And left her the water and wood to bring. I’ll often use each golden key,
And then a happy child I’ll be.
"I love you, Mother," said rosy Nell —
"I love you better than tongue can tell;" 26. WHO LIKES THE RAIN?
Then she teased and pouted full half the day by Clara Doty Bates
Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play. "I," said the duck, "I call it fun,
For I have my little red rubbers on.
They make a cunning three-toed track
"I love you, Mother," said little Fan;
In the soft cool mud. Quack! Quack!"
“Today I’ll help you all I can;
How glad I am that school doesn’t keep!" "I," cried the dandelion, "I,
So she rocked the babe till it fell asleep. My roots are thirsty, my buds are dry."
And she lifted her little yellow head
Then, stepping softly, she fetched the broom, Out of her green and grassy bed.
And swept the floor and tidied the room;
Busy and happy all day was she, "I hope 'twill pour! I hope ‘twill pour!”
Helpful and happy as child could be. Croaked the tree toad at this gray bark door.
"For with a broad leaf for a roof
"I love you, Mother," again they said, I am perfectly weather-proof."
Three little children going to bed;
How do you think that mother guessed Sang the brook, "I welcome every drop;
Which of them really loved her best? Come, come, dear rain drops, never stop
Till a great river you make of me,
Then I will carry you to the sea."

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections
27. ABRAHAM LINCOLN 29. MY DOG
by Mildred Plew Meigs by Marchette Chute
Remember he was poor and country-bred; His nose is short and scrubby;
His face was lined; he walked with awkward gait. His ears hang rather low
Smart people laughed at him sometimes and said, And he always brings a stick back,
"How can so very plain a man be great?" No matter how far you throw.

Remember he was humble, used to toil. He gets spanked rather often


Strong arms he had to build a shack, a fence, For things he shouldn't do,
Long legs to tramp the woods, to plow the soil, Like lying-on-beds, and barking,
A head chuck full of backwoods common sense. And eating up shoes when they're new,

Remember all he ever had he earned He always wants to be going


He walked in time through stately White House doors; Where he isn’t suppose to go.
But all he knew of men and life he learned He tracks up the house when it’s snowing -
In little backwoods cabins, country stores. Oh, puppy, I love you so.

Remember that his eyes could light with fun; 30. BUTTERFLY
That wisdom, courage, set his name apart; by William Jay Smith
But when the rest is duly said and done, Of living creatures most I prize
Remember that men loved him for his heart. Black-spotted yellow Butterflies
Sailing softly through the skies.
28. FOREIGN CHILDREN
by Robert Louis Stevenson Whisking light from each sunbeam,
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, Gliding over field and stream —
Little frosty Eskimo, Like fans unfolding in a dream,
Little Turk or Japanese,
O! don’t you wish that you were me? Like fans of gold lace flickering
Before a drowsy elfin king
You have seen the scarlet trees For whom the thrush and linnet sing —
And the lions over seas; Soft and beautiful and bright
You have eaten ostrich eggs, As hands that move to touch the light
And turned the turtles off their legs. When Mother leans to say good night.
Such a life is very fine,
But it's not as nice as mine:
You must often, as you trod,
Have wearied not to be abroad
You have curious things to eat,
I am fed on proper meat;
You must dwell beyond the foam,
But I am safe and live at home.

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,


Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanese,
O! don't you wish that you were me?

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

31. HABITS OF THE HIPPOPOTAMUS 33. HIDING


by Arthur Guiterman by Dorothy Aldis
The hippopotamus is strong I'm hiding. I’m hiding.
And huge of head and broad of bustle; And no one knows where;
The limbs on which he rolls along For all they can see is my
Are big with hippopotomuscle. Toes and my hair.

He does not greatly care for sweets And I just heard my father
Like ice cream, apple pie, or custard, Say to my mother –
But takes to flavor what he eats "But, darling, he must be
A little hippopotomustard. Somewhere or other;”

The hippopotamus is true “Have you looked in the ink well?”


To all his principles, and just; And Mother said “Where?”
He always tries his best to do “In the ink well,” said Father. But
The things one hippopotamust. I was not there.

He never rides in trucks or trams, Then “Wait!” cried my mother –


In taxicabs or omnibuses, “I think that I see
And so keeps out of traffic jams Him under the carpet.” But
And other hippopotomusses. It was not me.

32. WHEN MOTHER READS ALOUD “Inside the mirror’s


When Mother reads aloud, the past A pretty good place,”
Seems real as every day, Said Father and looked, but was
I hear the tramp of armies vast, Only his face.
I see the spears and lances cast,
I join the trilling fray; “We’ve hunted,” sighed Mother,
Brave knights and ladies fair and proud “As hard as we could
I meet when Mother reads aloud. And I am so afraid that we’ve
Lost him for good.”
When Mother reads aloud, far lands
Seem very near and true; Then I laughed out aloud
I cross the desert’s gleaming sands, And I wiggled my toes
Or hunt the jungle's prowling bands, And Father said – “Look, dear,
Or sail the ocean blue. I wonder if those
Far heights, whose peaks the cold mists shroud,
I scale, when Mother reads aloud. Toes could be Benny’s.
There are ten of them. See?”
When Mother reads aloud, I long And they WERE so surprised to find
For noble deeds to do – Out it was me!
To help the right, redress the wrong;
It seems so easy to be strong,
So simple to be true.
Oh, thick and fast the visions crowd
My eyes, when Mother reads aloud.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

34. METHUSELAH 36. THE REASON FOR THE PELICAN


Methuselah ate what he found on his plate, by John Ciardi
And never, as people do now, The Reason for the pelican
Did he note the amount of the calorie count; Is difficult to see;
He ate it because it was chow. His beak is clearly larger
He wasn’t disturbed as at dinner he sat, Than there's any need to be.
Devouring a roast or a pie,
To think it was lacking in granular fat It's not to bail a boat with —
Or a couple of vitamins shy. He doesn’t own a boat
He cheerfully chewed each species of food, Yet everywhere he takes himself
Unmindful of troubles or fears He has that beak to tote.
Lest his health might be hurt
By some fancy dessert; It’s not to keep his wife in —
And he lived over nine hundred years. His wife has got one, too.
It’s not a scoop for eating soup.
35. THE ANIMAL STORE It’s not an extra shoe.
by Rachel Field
If I had a hundred dollars to spend, It isn’t quite for anything.
Or maybe a little more, And yet you realize
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go It’s really quite a splendid beak
Straight to the animal store. In quite a splendid size.

I wouldn't say, "How much for this or that?" 38. TREES


"What kind of a dog is he?" by Joyce Kilmer
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye, I think that I shall never see
Or wagged a tail at me! A poem lovely as a tree.

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
That sits by himself alone Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own. A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before, A tree that may in summer wear
If I had a hundred dollars to spend, A nest of robins in her hair;
Or maybe a little more.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,


But only God can make a tree.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

39. WHICH WASHINGTON 41. THE


41. THE
SANDPIPER
SANDPIPER
by Eve Merriam Celia
Celia
Thaxter
Thaxter
There are many Washingtons: Across the narrow beach we flit,
Across the narrow beach we fit, One little sandpiper and I;
Which one do you like best? And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The rich man with his powdered wig The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
and silk brocaded vest? The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
The sportsman from Virginia As up and down the beach we flit,
Riding with his hounds, One little sandpiper and I.
Sounding a silver trumpet
On the green resplendent grounds? Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky;
The President with his tricome hat Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
And polished leather boots, Stand out the white lighthouses high.
With scarlet capes and ruffled shirts Almost as far as eye can reach
And fine brass-buttoned suits? I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach,-
Or the patchwork man with ragged feet, One little sandpiper and I.
Freezing at Valley Forge,
Richer in courage than all of them – I watch him as he skims along,
Though all of them were George. Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
40. SONG FOR YOUNG AMERICANS Or flash of fluttering drapery
by Gail Brooke Burket He has no thought of any wrong;
I live in a land He scans me with a fearless eye.
Where the people are free Staunch friends are we, well tried and strong,
And joy is a birthright The little sandpiper and I.
Belonging to me.
Love shelters my home Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
Like a wide-branching tree. When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
The doors of the church My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
Are open to me. To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
The schools unlock treasure I do not fear for thee, though wroth
With truth for a key. The tempest rushes through the sky
A whole world of wonder For are we not God’s children both,
Is waiting for me. Thou, little sandpiper, and I?
I live in a land
Where the people are free; 42. WINDOW BOXES
The future shines golden Eleanor Farjeon
For children like me. A window box of pansies
Is such a happy thing.
A window box of wallflowers
Is a garden for a king.
A window box of roses
Makes everyone stand still
Who sees a garden growing
On a window sill.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

43. HIAWATHA’S CHILDHOOD 44. THE CHILDREN’S HOUR


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
By the shores of Gitche Gumee, Between the dark and the daylight,
By the shining Big-Sea Water, When the night is beginning to lower,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis, That is known as the Children’s Hour.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees, I hear in the chamber above me
Rose the firs with cones upon them; The patter of little feet,
Bright before it beat the water, The sound of a door that is opened,
Bright the clear and sunny water, And voices soft and sweet.
Beat the shining Big-Sea Water.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
There the wrinkled old Nokomis Descending the broad hall stair,
Nursed the little Hiawatha, Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
Rocked him in his linden cradle, And Edith with golden hair.
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews; A whisper, and then a silence:
Stilled his fretful wail by saying, Yet I know by their merry eyes
“Hush! the naked bear will hear thee!” They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
“Ewa-yea! my little owlet! A sudden rush from the stairway
Who is this that lights the wigwam? A sudden raid from the hall!
With his great eyes lights the wigwam? By three doors left unguarded
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!” They enter my castle wall!

At the door on summer evenings They climb up into my turret


Sat the little Hiawatha; O’er the arms and back of my chair;
Heard the whispering of the pine-trees, If I try to escape, they surround me;
Heard the lapping of the waters, They seem to be everywhere.
Sounds of music, words of wonder;
“Minne-wawa!” said the pine-trees, They almost devour me with kisses,
“Mudway-aushka!” said the water. Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
Saw the firefly, Wah-wah-taysee, In his Mouse-tower on the Rhine!
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Lighting up the brakes and bushes; Because you have scaled the wall,
And he sang the song of children Such an old mustache as I am
Sang the song Nokomis taught him: Is not a match for you all!
“Wah-wah-taysee, little firefly,
Little, flitting, white-fire insect, I have you fast in my fortress,
Little, dancing, white-fire creature, And I will not let you depart,
Light me with your little candle, But put you down into the dungeon
Ere upon my bed I lay me. In the round-tower of my heart.
Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!”
And there I will keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

45. LTTLE BY LITTLE 46. RAIN IN SUMMER


Anonymous Henry Wadsworth Longfellor
“Little by little,” an acorn said, How beautiful is the rain!
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed, After the dust and heat,
“I am improving every day, In the broad and fiery street,
Hidden deep in the earth away.” In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
Little by little, each day it grew;
Little by little, it sipped the dew; How it clatters along the roofs,
Downward it sent out a thread-like root; Like the tramp of hoofs!
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot. How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
Day after day, and year after year,
Little by little the leaves appear; Across the window pane
It pours and pours;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride. And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Far down in the depths of the dark blue sea, Like a river down the gutter roars
An insect train works ceaselessly. The rain, the welcome rain!
Grain by grain, they are building well, In the country, on every side,
Each one alone in its little cell. Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Moment by moment, and day by day, Stretches the plain,
Never stopping to rest or to play, To the dry grass and the drier grain
Rocks upon rocks, they are reaching high, How welcome is the rain.
Till the top looks out on the sunny sky.
47. OVERHEARD IN AN ORCHARD
The gentle wind and the balmy air, Elizabeth Cheney
Little by little, bring verdure there; Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
Till the summer sunbeams gayly smile “I should really like to know
On the buds and the flowers of the coral isle. Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
“Little by little,” said a thoughtful boy,
“Moment by moment, I’ll well employ, Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
Learning a little every day, “Friend, I think that it must be
And not spending all my time in play. That they have no heavenly Father
And still this rule in my mind shall dwell, Such as cares for you and me.”
Whatever, I do, I will do it well.
48. FEBRUARY TWILIGHT
“Little by little, I’ll learn to know Sara Teasdale
The treasured wisdom of long ago; I stood beside a hill
And one of these days, perhaps, we’ll see Smooth with new-laid snow;
That the world will be the better for me”; A single star looked out
And do you not think that this simple plan From the cold evening glow.
Made him a wise and useful man?
There was no other creature
That saw what I could see –
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

49. THE DUEL 50. THE OWL AND THE PUSSY CAT
Eugene Field Edward Lear
The gingham dog and the calico cat The Owl and the Pussy cat went to sea
Side by side on the table sat; In a beautiful pea-green boat,
‘Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!) They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Not one nor t’other had slept a wink! Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate The owl looked up to the stars above,
Appeared to know as sure as fate And sang to a small guitar,
There was going to be a terrible spat. “O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
(I wasn’t there; I simply state What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!) You are,
You are!
The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!” What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so, Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
With bits of gingham and calico, How charmingly sweet you sing!
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place O let us be married! Too long we have tarried:
Up with its hands before its face, But what shall we do for a ring?”
For it always dreaded a family row! They sailed away, for a year and a day,
(Now mind: I’m only telling you To the land where the Bong-tree grows
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!) And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
The Chinese plate looked very blue, His nose,
And wailed, “Oh dear! what shall we do!” His nose,
But the gingham dog and the calico cat With a ring at the end of his nose.
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw “Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
In the awfullest way you ever saw – Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
And, oh! How the gingham and calico flew! So they took it away, and were married next day
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate – By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
I got my news from the Chinese plate!) They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon
Next morning, where the two had sat And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They found no trace of dog or cat; They danced by the light of the moon,
And some folks think unto this day The moon,
That burglars stole that pair away! The moon,
But the truth about the cat and pup They danced by the light of the moon.
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that! 51. WORK WHILE YOU WORK
(The old Dutch clock it told me so, M. A. Stodart
And that is how I came to know.) Work while you work,
Play while you play;
One thing each time,
That is the way.
All that you do,
Do with your might;
Things done by halves
Are not done right.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

52. MY SHADOW 53. WASHINGTON


Robert L. Stevenson Nancy Byrd Turner
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with He played by the river when he was young,
me, He raced with rabbits along the hills,
And what can be the use of him is more than I He fished for minnows, and climbed and swung,
can see. And hooted back at the whippoorwills.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the Strong and slender and tall he grew-
head; And then, one morning, the bugles blew.
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into
my bed. Over the hills the summons came,
Over the river’s shining rim.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes He said that the bugles called his name,
to grow- He knew that his country needed him,
Not at all like proper children, which is always And he answered, “Coming!” and marched away
very slow; For many a night and many a day.
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-
rubber ball, Perhaps when the marches were hot and long
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none He’d think of the river flowing by
of him at all. Or, camping under the winter sky,
Would hear the whippoorwill’s far-off song.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to Boy or soldier, in peace or strife,
play, He loved America all his life!
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of
way. 54. OUR FLAG
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you Author Unknown
can see; You may call it an old piece of bunting;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow You may call it an old tattered rag;
sticks to me! But thousands have died for its honor
And shed their best blood for the flag.
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every You may call it an old piece of bunting;
buttercup, You may call it an old tattered rag;
But my lazy little shadow, like an errant But Freedom has made it majestic,
sleepyhead, And Time has ennobled Our Flag.
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast
asleep in bed.

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Third and Fourth Grade Poetry Selections

55. KEEP A POEM IN YOUR POCKET


Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.

The little poem will sing to you


the little picture bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance to you
at night when you’re in bed.

So-
Keep a picture in your pocket
and a poem in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.

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