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Dove Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Doves by Harriet McEwen Kimball
  2. Dove's Nest by Joseph Russell Taylor
  3. The Frozen Dove by Hannah Flagg Gould
  4. The Wood-Dove's Note by Emily Huntington Miller
  5. My Doves by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  6. I Had a Dove by John Keats
  7. The Dove by Sidney Lanier
  8. Wings of a Dove by Henry Van Dyke
  9. The Turtle by Eliza and Sarah Wolcott
  10. Wood Dove by Hilda Conkling
  11. Beckon to the Pigeons by Friedrich Fröbel
  12. To a City Pigeon by N.P. Willis
  13. The Belfry Pigeon by N.P. Willis
  14. Carrier Pigeons by Hilda Conkling
  15. The Passenger Pigeons by Douglas Malloch


  1. The Doves

    by Harriet McEwen Kimball

    Pretty doves, so blithely ranging
    Up and down the street;
    Glossy throats all bright hues changing
    Little scarlet feet!

    Pretty doves! among the daisies
    They should coo and flit!
    All these toilsome, noisy places
    Seem for them unfit.

    Yet amidst our human plodding,
    They must love to be;
    With their little heads a-nodding,
    Busier than we.

    Close to hoof and wheel they hover,
    Glancing right and left,
    Sure some treasure to discover;
    Rapid, shy, and deft.

    Friendliest of feathered creatures,
    In their timid guise;
    Wisdom’s little silent teachers,
    Praying us be wise.

    Fluttering at footsteps careless,
    Danger swift to flee,
    Lowly, trusting, faithful, fearless,—
    Oh, that such were we!

    In the world and yet not of it,
    Ready to take wing,—
    By this lesson could we profit
    It were everything!

    16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

    – Matthew 10:16
  2. Dove's Nest

    by Joseph Russell Taylor

    "Sylvia, hush!" I said, "come here,
    Come see a fairy-tale, my dear!
    Tales told are good, tales seen are best!"
    The dove was brooding on the nest
    In the lowest crotch of the apple tree.

    I lifted her up so quietly,
    That when she could have touched the bird
    The soft gray creature had not stirred.
    It looked at us with a wild dark eye.
    But, "Birdie, fly!" was Sylvia's cry,
    Impatient Sylvia, "Birdie, fly."
    Ah, well: but when I touched the nest,
    The child recoiled upon my breast.
    Was ever such a startling thing?
    Sudden silver and purple wing,
    The dove was out, away, across,
    Struggling heart-break on the grass.
    And there in the cup within the tree
    Two milk-white eggs were ours to see.
    Was ever thing so pretty? Alack,
    "Birdie!" Sylvia cried, "come back!"

  3. The Frozen Dove

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Away, from the path, silly dove,
    Where the foot, that may carelessly tread,
    Will crush thee!—what! wilt thou not move?
    Alas! thou art stiffened and dead!

    Allured by the brightness of day,
    To sink 'mid the shadows of night,
    Too far from the cote didst thou stray,
    And sadly has ended thy flight!

    For here, with the snow at thy breast,
    With thy wings folded close to thy side,
    And crouched in the semblance of rest,
    Alone, of the cold thou hast died!

    Poor bird! thou hast pictured the fate
    Of many in life's changeful day,
    Who, trusting, have found but too late
    What smiles may be lit to betray.

    How oft for illusions that shine
    In a cold and a pitiless world,
    Benighted and palsied like thine,
    Has the wing of the spirit been furled!

    And hearts the most tender and light,
    In their warmth, to the earth have been thrown,
    'Mid the chills of adversity's night,
    To suffer and perish alone!

    “All that glitters is not gold”

    – William Shakespeare
  4. The Wood-Dove's Note

    by Emily Huntington Miller

    Meadows with yellow cowslips all aglow,
    Glory of sunshine on the uplands bare,
    And faint and far, with sweet elusive flow,
    The Wood-dove's plaintive call,
    "O where! where! where!"

    Straight with old Omar in the almond grove
    From whitening boughs I breathe the odors rare
    And hear the princess mourning for her love
    With sad unwearied plaint,
    "O where! where! where!"

    New madrigals in each soft pulsing throat—
    New life upleaping to the brooding air—
    Still the heart answers to that questing note,
    "Soul of the vanished years,
    O where! where! where!"

  5. My Doves

    by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    My little doves have left a nest
    Upon an Indian tree,
    Whose leaves fantastic take their rest
    Or motion from the sea;
    For, ever there the sea-winds go
    With sunlit paces to and fro.

    The tropic flowers looked up to it,
    The tropic stars looked down,
    And there my little doves did sit
    With feathers softly brown,
    And glittering eyes that showed their right
    To general Nature's deep delight.

    My little doves were ta'en away
    From that glad nest of theirs,
    Across an ocean rolling grey,
    And tempest-clouded airs.
    My little doves who lately knew
    The sky and wave by warmth and blue.

    And now, within the city prison
    In mist and chillness pent,
    With sudden upward look they listen
    For sounds of past content,
    For lapse of water, smell of breeze,
    Or nut-fruit falling from the trees.

  6. I Had a Dove

    by John Keats

    I had a dove, and the sweet dove died;
    And I have thought it died of grieving;
    O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied
    With a ribbon thread of my own hand's weaving.
    Sweet little red feet! why should you die?
    Why would you leave me, sweet bird! why?
    You lived alone in the forest tree:
    Why, pretty thing! would you not live with me?
    I kissed you oft and gave you white peas;
    Why not live sweetly; as in the green trees?

  7. The Dove

    by Sidney Lanier

    If haply thou, O Desdemona Morn,
    Shouldst call along the curving sphere, "Remain,
    Dear Night, sweet Moor; nay, leave me not in scorn!"
    With soft halloos of heavenly love and pain; —

    Shouldst thou, O Spring! a-cower in coverts dark,
    'Gainst proud supplanting Summer sing thy plea,
    And move the mighty woods through mailed bark
    Till mortal heart-break throbbed in every tree; —

    Or (grievous 'if' that may be 'yea' o'er-soon!),
    If thou, my Heart, long holden from thy Sweet,
    Shouldst knock Death's door with mellow shocks of tune,
    Sad inquiry to make — `When may we meet?'

    Nay, if ye three, O Morn! O Spring! O Heart!
    Should chant grave unisons of grief and love;
    Ye could not mourn with more melodious art
    Than daily doth yon dim sequestered dove.

  8. Wings of a Dove

    by Henry Van Dyke

    At sunset, when the rosy light was dying
    Far down the pathway of the west,
    I saw a lonely dove in silence flying,
    To be at rest.

    Pilgrim of air, I cried, could I but borrow
    Thy wandering wings, thy freedom blest,
    I'd fly away from every careful sorrow,
    And find my rest.

    But when the filmy veil of dusk was falling,
    Home flew the dove to seek his nest,
    Deep in the forest where his mate was calling
    To love and rest.

    Peace, heart of mine! no longer sigh to wander;
    Lose not thy life in barren quest.
    There are no happy islands over yonder;
    Come home and rest.

  9. The Turtle

    by Eliza Wolcott

    When spring around our garden smiles,
    And charming breezes blow,
    When wintry winds are in exile,
    And kinder zephyrs flow,

    The turtle then begins her lay,
    And spreads her airy wing,
    And in the hedge or on the spray,
    Her wakeful notes begin.

    The mocking bird may carol there,
    The favor'd bird of choice,
    The whippowil's soft notes may share,
    And tell of spring tide joys.

    The turtle in our groves may sing,
    And fill the air with glee,
    The merry songsters in the spring
    May warble in the tree.

    In all this tide of flowing joy,
    Let favor'd man now sing,
    And his best faculties employ
    In praises to our King.

    Mine eyes are sick of this perpetual flow
    Of people, and my heart of one sad thought.

    – Shelley

  10. Wood Dove

    by Hilda Conkling

    When morn in breaking
    When the sun is rising over
    dark, blue hills,
    When mists go by
    I hear a voice say
    Coo . . . coo . . .
    It is Mistress Wood Dove
    Hidden and alone,
    Glad of morning.
    I call,
    She answers:
    Morning is sweeter
    For her voice.

  11. Pigeons

  12. Beckon to the Pigeons

    by Friedrich Fröbel

    The pigeons are coming, dear love, to meet you,
    Beckon, then say, "sweet pigeons, I greet you!

  13. To a City Pigeon

    by N.P. Willis

    Stoop to my window, thou beautiful dove;
    Thy daily visits have touched my love.
    I watch thy coming, and list the note
    That stirs so low in thy mellow throat,
    And my joy is high
    To catch the glance of thy gentle eye.

    Why dost thou sit on the heated eaves,
    And forsake the wood with its freshen'd leaves?
    Why dost haunt the sultry street,
    When the paths of the forest are cool and sweet?
    How canst thou bear
    This noise of people — this sultry air?

    Thou alone of the feather'd race
    Dost look unscared on the human face;
    Thou alone, with a wing to flee,
    Dost love with man in his haunts to be;
    And the "gentle dove"
    Has become a name for trust and love.

    A holy gift is thine, sweet bird!
    Thou'rt named with childhood's earliest word!
    Thou'rt link'd with all that is fresh and wild
    In the prison'd thoughts of the city child;
    And thy glossy wings
    Are its brightest image of moving things.

    It is no light chance. Thou art set apart
    Wisely by Him who has tamed thy heart,
    To stir the love for the bright and fair
    That else were seal'd in this crowded air;
    I sometimes dream
    Angelic rays from thy pinions stream.

    Come then, ever, when daylight leaves
    The page I read, to my humble eaves,
    And wash thy breast in the hollow spout,
    And murmur thy low sweet music out!
    I hear and see
    Lessons of heaven, sweet bird, in thee!

  14. The Belfry Pigeon

    by N.P. Willis

    On the cross beam under the Old South bell
    The nest of a pigeon is builded well.
    In summer and winter that bird is there,
    Out and in with the morning air:
    I love to see him track the street,
    With his wary eye and active feet;
    And I often watch him as he springs,
    Circling the steeple with easy wings,
    Till across the dial his shade has passed,
    And the belfry edge is gained at last.
    'Tis a bird I love, with its brooding note,
    And the trembling throb in its mottled throat;
    There's a human look in its swelling breast,
    And a gentle curve of its lowly crest;
    And I often stop with the fear I feel —
    He runs so close to the rapid wheel.

    Whatever is rung on that noisy bell, —
    Chime of the hour or funeral knell, —
    The dove in the belfry must hear it well.
    When the tongue swings out to the midnight moon,
    When the sexton cheerily rings for noon,
    When the clock strikes clear at morning light,
    When the child is waked with "nine at night,"
    When the chimes play soft in the Sabbath air,
    Filling the spirit with tones of prayer, —

  15. Carrier Pigeons

    by Hilda Conkling

    Across the rippled ocean
    Where the wind blows wildly
    And never keeps still,
    Across the midnight sky, a glad news!
    Messages floating, beating,
    Happy words high over the sad sand
    And empty waters . . .
    Pigeons on their way

  16. The Passenger Pigeons

    by Douglas Malloch

    Where roam ye now, ye nomads of the air.
    The old-time heralds of our old-time Springs?
    Once, when we heard the thunder of your wings,
    We looked upon the world—and Spring was there.

    One time your armies swept across the sky,
    Your feathered millions in a mighty march
    Filling with life and music all the arch
    Where now a lonely swallow flutters by.

    Where roam ye now, ye nomads of the air?
    In what far land? What undiscovered place?
    Ye may have found the refuge of the race
    That mortals visit but in dream and prayer.

    Perhaps in some blest land ye wing your flight,
    Now undisturbed by murder and by greed,
    And there await the coming of the freed
    Who shall emerge, like ye, from earth and night.

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