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Acorn Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Pebble and the Acorn by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. Little by Little by Anonymous
  3. Song of Life by Charles Mackay
  4. The Acorn by Jones Very
  5. The Crop of Acorns by Lydia Sigourney
  6. The Acorn and the Oak by Ella Maxwell Haddox

  1. The Pebble and the Acorn

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "I am a Pebble! and yield to none!"
    Were swelling words of a tiny stone,
    "Nor time nor season can alter me;
    I am abiding, while ages flee.
    The pelting hail and the drizzling rain
    Have tried to soften me, long, in vain;
    And the tender dew has sought to melt,
    Or touch my heart; but it was not felt.
    There's none that can tell about my birth,
    For I'm as old as the big, round earth.
    The children of men arise, and pass
    Out of the world, like the blades of grass;
    And many a foot on me has trod,
    That's gone from sight, and under the sod!
    I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
    Rattling along from the restless bough?"

    The Acorn was shocked at this rude salute,
    And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
    She never before had been so near
    This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere;
    And she felt for a time at a loss to know
    How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
    But to give reproof of a nobler sort
    Than the angry look, or the keen retort,

    At length she said, in a gentle tone,
    "Since it has happened that I am thrown
    From the lighter element, where I grew,
    Down to another, so hard and new,
    And beside a personage so august,
    Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
    And quickly retire from the sight of one
    Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
    Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel
    Has ever subdued, or made to feel!"
    And soon, in the earth, she sunk away
    From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.

    But it was not long ere the soil was broke
    By the peering head of an infant oak!
    And, as it arose and its branches spread,
    The Pebble looked up, and wondering said,
    "A modest Acorn! never to tell
    What was enclosed in its simple shell;
    That the pride of the forest was folded up
    In the narrow space of its little cup!
    And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
    Which proves that nothing could hide her worth!
    And oh! how many will tread on me,
    To come and admire the beautiful tree,
    Whose head is towering towards the sky,
    Above such a worthless thing as I!
    Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
    I have been idling from year to year.

    But never, from this, shall a vaunting word
    From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
    Till something without me or within,
    Shall show the purpose for which I've been!"
    The Pebble its vow could not forget,
    And it lies there wrapt in silence yet.

  2. Little by Little

    by Anonymous

    “Little by little,” an acorn said,
    As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,
    “I am improving every day,
    Hidden deep in the earth away.”

    Little by little, each day it grew;
    Little by little, it sipped the dew;
    Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
    Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.

    Day after day, and year after year,
    Little by little the leaves appear;
    And the slender branches spread far and wide,
    Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride.

    Far down in the depths of the dark blue sea,
    An insect train work ceaselessly.
    Grain by grain, they are building well,
    Each one alone in its little cell.

    Moment by moment, and day by day,
    Never stopping to rest or to play,
    Rocks upon rocks, they are rearing high,
    Till the top looks out on the sunny sky.

    The gentle wind and the balmy air,
    Little by little, bring verdure there;
    Till the summer sunbeams gayly smile
    On the buds and the flowers of the coral isle.

    “Little by little,” said a thoughtful boy,
    “Moment by moment, I’ll well employ,
    Learning a little every day,
    And not spending all my time in play.
    And still this rule in my mind shall dwell,
    Whatever I do, I will do it well.

    “Little by little, I’ll learn to know
    The treasured wisdom of long ago;
    And one of these days, perhaps, we’ll see
    That the world will be the better for me.”
    And do you not think that this simple plan
    Made him a wise and useful man?

  3. Song of Life

    by Charles Mackay

    A traveller on a dusty road
    Strewed acorns on the lea;
    And one took root and sprouted up,
    And grew into a tree.
    Love sought its shade at evening-time,
    To breathe its early vows;
    And Age was pleased, in heights of noon,
    To bask beneath its boughs.
    The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,
    The birds sweet music bore—
    It stood a glory in its place,
    A blessing evermore.

    A little spring had lost its way
    Amid the grass and fern;
    A passing stranger scooped a well
    Where weary men might turn.
    He walled it in, and hung with care
    A ladle on the brink;
    He thought not of the deed he did,
    But judged that Toil might drink.
    He passed again; and lo! the well,
    By summer never dried,
    Had cooled ten thousand parchéd tongues,
    And saved a life beside.

    A nameless man, amid the crowd
    That thronged the daily mart,
    Let fall a word of hope and love,
    Unstudied from the heart,
    A whisper on the tumult thrown,
    A transitory breath,
    It raised a brother from the dust,
    It saved a soul from death.
    O germ! O fount! O word of love!
    O thought at random cast!
    Ye were but little at the first,
    But mighty at the last.

  4. The Acorn

    by Jones Very

    The seed has started,—who can stay it? see,
    The leaves are sprouting high above the ground;
    Already o'er the flowers, its head; the tree
    That rose beside it and that on it frowned,
    Behold! is but a small bush by its side.
    Still on! it cannot stop; its branches spread;
    It looks o'er all the earth in giant pride.
    The nations find upon its limbs their bread,
    Its boughs their millions shelter from the heat,
    Beneath its shade see kindreds, tongues, and all
    That the wide world contains, they all retreat
    Beneath the shelter of that acorn small
    That late thou flung away; 'twas the best gift
    That heaven e'er gave;—its head the low shall lift.

  5. The Crop of Acorns

    by Lydia Sigourney

    There came a man, in days of old,
    To hire a piece of land, for gold,
    And urg'd his suit in accents meek,
    "One crop alone, is all I seek.
    That harvest o'er, my claim I yield,
    And back to you resign the field."

    The owner, some misgiving felt,
    And coldly with the stranger dealt,
    But found at length his reasons fail,
    And honied eloquence prevail,
    So took the proffer'd price in hand.
    And for one crop, leas'd out the land.

    The wily tenant sneer'd with pride,
    And sow'd the soil with acorns wide,
    At first, like tiny shoots they grew.
    Then broad and wide, their branches threw,
    But long before those oaks sublime
    Aspiring reach'd their forest prime.
    The cheated landlord mould'ring lay
    Forgotten with his kindred clay.

    Oh ye, whose years unfolding fair,
    Are fresh with youth and free from care,
    Should vice or indolence desire
    The garden of your soul to hire,
    No parley hold,—reject their suit,
    Nor let one seed the soil pollute.

    My son, their first approach beware,
    With firmness break the insidious snare,
    Lest, as the acorns grew and throve
    Into a sun-excluding grove,
    Thy sins, a dark, o'ershadowing tree,
    Shut out the light of heaven from thee.

  6. The Acorn and the Oak

    by Ella Maxwell Haddox

    Within the damp and clinging earth,
    Where darkness spans a world unseen,
    An acorn dreamed; and, dreaming, saw
    Blue skies and forests green.

    It dreamed of light, where all was gloom;
    It dreamed of strength, where none prevailed
    Save that which held the dream, when dark
    And threatening powers assailed.

    It saw itself an oak, whose crest
    From Morn's first blush a halo caught;
    In whose broad boughs the weary birds
    At eve a shelter sought.

    And as in hopefulness it dreamed.
    The unbelieving earth made room;
    And, powerless to repress, did haste
    To friendliness assume.

    Thou, too, dream on, O Soul! and let
    Not things which seem thy faith undo;
    For All of Life concerns itself
    To make thy dream come true.

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