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Pewee Poems

Table of Contents

  1. Advice to the Wood Pewee by Anonymous
  2. The Pewee by John Townsend Trowbridge
  3. Pewee by T.A. Conrad

  1. Advice to the Wood Pewee

    by Anonymous

    O bird with the mournful throat,
    Singing in sorrowful key,
    What grief does your song denote,
    Your desolate "De-ary me"?

    Where could you have learned your song
    When all of the woodlands ring
    With carollings cheery and strong
    That dance and frolic and swing?

    Has any one done you harm?
    Do you fear a mysterious woe?
    What breezes have whispered alarm
    And left you sorrowing so?

    The woods are full of content,
    There's gladness in blossom and tree,
    And yours is the only lament.
    Your woebegone "De-ary me."

    Cheer up, you worrying bird!
    Be ashamed that a wingless man
    Should offer this heartening word
    To one of the feathered clan!

    Take note of your relative there,
    The phoebe happy and wise,
    Who sings the sprightllest air
    Beneath the gloomiest skies

    And change your disconsolate tune
    As soon as you possibly can
    For fear, some unfortunate June,
    It might be adopted--by man!

  2. The Pewee

    by John Townsend Trowbridge

    The listening Dryads hushed the woods;
    The boughs were thick, and thin and few
    The golden ribbons fluttering through;
    Their sun-embroidered, leafy hoods
    The lindens lifted to the blue:
    Only a little forest-brook
    The farthest hem of silence shook:
    When in the hollow shades I heard,—
    Was it a spirit, or a bird?
    Or, strayed from Eden, desolate,
    Some Peri calling to her mate,
    Whom nevermore her mate would cheer?
    "Pe-ri! pe-ri! peer!"

    Through rocky clefts the brooklet fell
    With plashy pour, that scarce was sound,
    But only quiet less profound,
    A stillness fresh and audible:
    A yellow leaflet to the ground
    Whirled noiselessly: with wing of gloss
    A hovering sunbeam brushed the moss,
    And, wavering brightly over it,
    Sat like a butterfly alit:
    The owlet in his open door
    Stared roundly: while the breezes bore
    The plaint to far-off places drear,—
    "Pe-ree! pe-ree! peer!"

    To trace it in its green retreat
    I sought among the boughs in vain;
    And followed still the wandering strain,
    So melancholy and so sweet
    The dim-eyed violets yearned with pain.
    'Twas now a sorrow in the air,
    Some nymph's immortalized despair
    Haunting the woods and waterfalls;
    And now, at long, sad intervals,
    Sitting unseen in dusky shade,
    His plaintive pipe some fairy played,
    With long-drawn cadence thin and clear,—
    "Pe-wee! pe-wee! peer!"

    Long-drawn and clear its closes were,—
    As if the hand of Music through
    The somber robe of Silence drew
    A thread of golden gossamer:
    So pure a flute the fairy blew.
    Like beggared princes of the wood,
    In silver rags the birches stood;
    The hemlocks, lordly counselors,
    Were dumb; the sturdy servitors,
    In beechen jackets patched and gray,
    Seemed waiting spellbound all the day
    That low, entrancing note to hear,—
    "Pe-wee! pe-wee! peer!"

    I quit the search, and sat me down
    Beside the brook, irresolute,
    And watched a little bird in suit
    Of sober olive, soft and brown,
    Perched in the maple-branches, mute:
    With greenish gold its vest was fringed,
    Its tiny cap was ebon-tinged,
    With ivory pale its wings were barred,
    And its dark eyes were tender-starred.
    "Dear bird," I said, "what is thy name?"
    And thrice the mournful answer came,
    So faint and far, and yet so near,—
    "Pe-wee! pe-wee! peer!"

    For so I found my forest bird,—
    The pewee of the loneliest woods,
    Sole singer in these solitudes,
    Which never robin's whistle stirred,
    Where never bluebird's plume intrudes.
    Quick darting through the dewy morn,
    The redstart trilled his twittering horn,
    And vanished in thick boughs: at even,
    Like liquid pearls fresh showered from heaven,
    The high notes of the lone wood-thrush
    Fall on the forest's holy hush:
    But thou all day complainest here,—
    "Pe-wee! pe-wee! peer!"

    Hast thou, too, in thy little breast,
    Strange longings for a happier lot,—
    For love, for life, thou know'st not what,—
    A yearning, and a vague unrest,
    For something still which thou hast not?—
    Thou soul of some benighted child
    That perished, crying in the wild!
    Or lost, forlorn, and wandering maid,
    By love allured, by love betrayed,
    Whose spirit with her latest sigh
    Arose, a little winged cry,
    Above her chill and mossy bier!
    "Dear me! dear me! dear!"

    Ah, no such piercing sorrow mars
    The pewee's life of cheerful ease!
    He sings, or leaves his song to seize
    An insect sporting in the bars
    Of mild bright light that gild the trees.
    A very poet he! For him
    All pleasant places still and dim:
    His heart, a spark of heavenly fire,
    Burns with undying, sweet desire:
    And so he sings; and so his song,
    Though heard not by the hurrying throng,
    Is solace to the pensive ear:
    "Pewee! pewee! peer!"

  3. Pewee

    by T. A. Conrad

    Sweet promise of the sunny days,
    Thy restless form is dear to me;
    Though homely are thy plaintive lays,
    Thy simple carol, brown pee wee.

    I see thee build thy rustic fort
    Beneath the bridge's mouldering arch;
    And joy to hear thy love's report
    Above the boisterous breath of March.

    Thou comest from distant wood or bower
    To scenes which smiled upon thy birth,
    While trees are bare, and scarce a flower
    Is scattered o'er the cold, moist earth;

    While Spring is in her changeful moods,
    And now unlocks the icy rill;
    When in the hollows of the woods
    The unsunned snow is lingering still.

    Thou living memory of the days
    When I was young and gay like thee,
    Thou lead'st me thro' the gathering haze
    Back to the light of infancy;

    To morning hours when oft I trod
    The spongy fields in search of thee,
    When Draba starred the chilly sod
    In a pale, tiny galaxy.

    Once, in a kindly winter day,
    By Alabama's waters rude,
    I saw thee on the mossy spray
    That stretched in leafless solitude,

    Upon the steep bank's crumbling side,
    Enriched with many a fossil shell;
    And truly, 'twas with joy and pride
    I saw thee in thy precinct dwell.

    For then it lost its alien face
    And Fancy dwelt in home once more;
    I seemed in early Spring's embrace,
    Beside my far ancestral door.

    And when shall come the fatal night,
    Amid my weakness, grief, and pain,
    I would behold thy circling flight,
    And die while listening to thy strain.