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Poems About Community

Table of Contents

  1. The Old Church by Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
  2. A Time to Talk by Robert Frost
  3. The Sewing Circle by Evander A. Crewson
  4. The Village Blacksmith by Anna Marie Neis
  5. The Village Wedding by J. R. Eastwood
  6. The Village May-Day by J. R. Eastwood
  7. Country Sleighing by Edmund Clarence Stedman
  8. The Old Sugar Camp by Helen M. Johnson
  9. The Sugar Camp by Robert McIntyre

  1. The Old Church

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    It lifteth its gray old spire from the heart of the busy town,
    Pointing the thoughts of the people from the things that bind men down—

    Up from toil and temptation, and struggle for daily bread,
    To the blessed Father in heaven, to whom our prayers are said,—

    Who knoweth what we have need of before it passeth our lips,
    Who pitieth and forgiveth our frailty and our slips!

    A century and a quarter dream-like has flitted away
    Since they laid the stone in the corner, one sunny summer day.

    Grave men and stately matrons and rosy children stood,
    While the minister sought a blessing for the church they built in the wood—

    That thither, for peace and comfort, might throng from many lands
    Those who should after worship in the house not made with hands.

    As it rose in its fair proportions, higher from day to day,
    In the shade of the forest round it, the children came to play!

    To-day the birds are singing from their nests in the dusky eaves;
    Then shook their matins and vespers out from the rustling leaves.

    Vanished the quiet forest! In its place the restless town,
    With its hive-like hum and bustle, its houses smoky and brown!

    The church in its green enclosure has only room for graves,
    And over the mossy tombstones the graceful willow waves!

    Here sleep the men and women of a hundred years ago,
    Folded in silent slumber, neath the sunlight and the snow.

    Out from the grand old spire still tolls the bell for the dead;
    Still merrily peals its music for the happy hearts of the wed.

    From the ancient oaken pulpit the message of God is given,
    And from Sabbath to Sabbath are sinners pointed to hope and heaven.

    The mourner findeth comfort, the weary findeth calm;
    And the sorely wounded spirit is soothed with Gilead's balm.

    Here the stranger's eye may brighten as he sees the greeting word:
    "Ever the stranger is welcome in the dwelling of the Lord!"

    And the rich and poor together to mingle worship come
    As the children of One Father—all bound for one sweet home.

    Long may the dear old spire, from the heart of the busy town,
    Lift the thought of the people from all that binds it down,—

    From wealth they must leave behind them, when low they lie in the mold,
    To the city whose walls are jasper, whose streets are paved with gold;

    Where we hope at last to gather, lifting our songs of praise,
    Where never a shade shall darken the sunlight of our days;

    And no voices with tears along them shall tremble in the chord
    Of the hallelujahs rising in that temple of the Lord.

  2. A Time to Talk

    by Robert Frost

    When a friend calls to me from the road
    And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
    I don’t stand still and look around
    On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
    And shout from where I am, What is it?
    No, not as there is a time to talk.
    I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
    Blade-end up and five feet tall,
    And plod: I go up to the stone wall
    For a friendly visit.

  3. The Sewing Circle

    by Evander A. Crewson

    Sewing, sewing, busy sewing;
    Hear the scissors rattle, rattle;
    Everybody's tongue agoing—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Good intentions, glorious cause—
    Willing angels in life's battle;
    Picking out the little flaws—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Making some poor mother clothes;
    Helping buy the baby's rattle;
    Hitting friends and hitting foes—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

    Willing hearts and willing hands:
    Generals all in life's battle;
    Laying bare each other's plans—
    Tittle-tattle, tittle-tattle.

  4. The Village Blacksmith

    by Anna Marie Neis

    Ho! the village blacksmith,
    All the live-long day,
    The ringing of his anvil,
    Wears many hours away.

    How manfully he lifts his arm,
    And strikes the heavy blow,
    The hammer beating perfect time,
    As he swings it to and fro.

    Listen to the anvil!
    The sound is very dear,
    As across the little park,
    It rings out loud and clear.

    'Tis the only chiming sound,
    That keeps the village stirring,
    For in the quiet little town,
    There's nothing much occurring.

    On a bright and sunny morning,
    When the sky is blue,
    And the grass is fresh and green,
    And slightly wet with dew.

    The farmer boy may be seen
    Coming from afar,
    With horse to shoe, wagon to fix,
    And to get a box of tar.

    Then a little chit-chat
    In a loud and jolly tone,
    The farmer boy hooks up his horse,
    And hurries on toward home.

    No sooner is he out of sight,
    Than others come and go,
    Thus keeping the village blacksmith's shop
    In a continual glow.

    The smith is known for many a mile,
    And greatly esteemed it appears,
    For he has been the village smith
    For five and twenty years.

    But things will change as time goes on
    And cause us deep despair,
    For in the little village shop,
    The smith is no more there.

    For sickness came as it will to all
    Midst pleasure and midst mirth,
    And sad to say in three short days
    He departed from this earth.

    The shock is great to all around,
    Even those who knew him not,
    His death casts a shadow,
    Which will not be soon forgot.

    In the quiet little churchyard
    The smith was laid low,
    Where the green grass and the flowers,
    Will soon begin to grow.

    The birds will sing their songs
    In the bright and genial days,
    Near the lonely grave where
    The village blacksmith lays.

  5. The Village Wedding

    by J. R. Eastwood

    The weeks and months, with long delay,
    Have brought at last the wedding day;
    And pealing bells, with merry din,
    The joyful morn have ushered in!

    And now the church begins to fill;
    And all are seated, pleased and still,
    While matron looks rebuke the boys
    Who move their feet with shuffling noise.

    And village girls, with whispered talk,
    And smiling lips, have lined the walk,
    And ready stand, on either side,
    To scatter flowers before the bride.

    And soon she comes, with modest grace,
    The bridegroom waiting in his place;
    The ring is on, the words are said,
    They kneel to pray, and they are wed.

  6. The Village May-Day

    by J. R. Eastwood

    Piled up with sacks, to yonder town
    The great mill waggon lumbers down:
    Drawn by three horses, tall and strong,
    The great mill waggon rolls along.

    The miller's smock is clean and new,
    And smart with ribbons, red and blue;
    And tinkling bells on bridle rein
    Have made the stately horses vain.

    And every year the First of May
    Is made the village holiday:
    The school is closed: the children run
    In meadows smiling with the sun.

    And now before the mill they wait,
    While some, impatient, climb the gate,
    And shout with glee, when drawing near
    The loudly rumbling wheels they hear.

    And soon the horses loom in sight,
    With gay rosettes, and harness bright,
    While dose beside the leader's head,
    The miller walks with sturdy tread.

    Long may the festive day come round
    And find the miller hale and sound,
    And may his goods increase, and still
    The great wheel turn his busy mill.

  7. Country Sleighing

    by Edmund Clarence Stedman

    In January, when down the dairy
    The cream and clabber freeze,
    When snow-drifts cover the fences over,
    We farmers take our ease.
    At night we rig the team,
    And bring the cutter out;
    Then fill it, fill it, fill it, fill it,
    And heap the furs about.

    Here friends and cousins dash up by dozens,
    And sleighs at least a score;
    There John and Molly, behind, are jolly,
    Nell rides with me, before.
    All down the village street
    We range us in a row:
    Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
    And over the crispy snow!

    The windows glisten, the old folks listen
    To hear the sleigh-bells pass;
    The fields grow whiter, the stars are brighter,
    The road is smooth as glass.
    Our muffled faces burn,
    The clear north-wind blows cold,
    The girls all nestle, nestle, nestle,
    Each in her lover's hold.

    Through bridge and gateway we're shooting straightway,
    Their tollman was too slow!
    He'll listen after our song and laughter
    As over the hill we go.
    The girls cry, "Fie! for shame!"
    Their cheeks and lips are red,
    And so, with kisses, kisses, kisses,
    They take the toll instead.

    Still follow, follow! across the hollow
    The tavern fronts the road.
    Whoa, now! all steady! the host is ready,—
    He knows the country mode!
    The irons are in the fire,
    The hissing flip is got;
    So pour and sip it, sip it, sip it,
    And sip it while 't is hot.

    Push back the tables, and from the stables
    Bring Tom, the fiddler, in;
    All take your places, and make your graces,
    And let the dance begin.
    The girls are beating time
    To hear the music sound;
    Now foot it, foot it, foot it, foot it,
    And swing your partners round.

    Last couple toward the left! all forward!
    Cotillons through, let 's wheel:
    First tune the fiddle, then down the middle
    In old Virginia Reel.
    Play Money Musk to close,
    Then take the "long chassé,"
    While in to supper, supper, supper,
    The landlord leads the way.

    The bells are ringing, the ostlers bringing
    The cutters up anew;
    The beasts are neighing; too long we 're staying,
    The night is half-way through.
    Wrap close the buffalo-robes,
    We 're all aboard once more;
    Now jingle, jingle, jingle, jingle,
    Away from the tavern-door.

    So follow, follow, by hill and hollow,
    And swiftly homeward glide.
    What midnight splendor! how warm and tender
    The maiden by your side!
    The sleighs drop far apart,
    Her words are soft and low;
    Now, if you love her, love her, love her,
    'T is safe to tell her so.

  8. The Old Sugar Camp

    by Helen M. Johnson

    Come let us away to the old Sugar Camp;
    The sky is serene though the ground may be damp,—
    And the little bright streams, as they frolic and run,
    Turn a look full of thanks to the ice-melting sun;
    While the warm southern winds, wherever they go,
    Leave patches of brown 'mid the glittering snow.

    The oxen are ready, and Carlo and Tray
    Are watching us, ready to be on the way,
    While a group of gay children, with platter and spoon,
    And faces as bright as the roses of June,
    O'er fences and ditches exultingly spring,
    Light-hearted and careless as birds on the wing.

    Where's Edwin? Oh, here he comes, loading his gun;
    Look out for the partridges—hush! there is one!
    Poor victim! a bang and a flutter—'tis o'er,—
    And those fair dappled wings shall expand nevermore;
    It was shot for one invalid sister at home,
    Yet we sigh as beneath the tall branches we roam.

    Our cheeks all aglow with the long morning tramp,
    We soon come in sight of the old Sugar Camp;
    The syrup already is placed in the pan,
    And we gather around it as many as can,—
    We try it on snow; when we find it is done
    We fill up a mold for a dear absent one.

    Oh, gayest and best of all parties are these,
    That meet in the Camp 'neath the old maple trees,
    Renewing the love and the friendship of years,—
    They are scenes to be thought of with smiles and with tears
    When age shall have furrowed each beautiful cheek,
    And left in dark tresses a silvery streak.

    Here brothers and sisters and lovers have met,
    And cousins and friends we can never forget;
    The prairie, the ocean, divide us from some,
    Yet oft as the seasons for sugaring come,
    The cup of bright syrup to friendship we'll drain,
    And gather them home to our bosom again.

    Dear Maple, that yieldeth a nectar so rare,
    So useful in spring, and in summer so fair,—
    Of autumn acknowledged the glory and queen,
    Attendant on every Canadian scene,
    Enshrined in our homes it is meet thou shouldst be
    Of our country the emblem, O beautiful Tree!

  9. The Sugar Camp

    by Robert McIntyre

    When you want a treat, delicious to eat, pass by the poor old bees;
    Slip out and go, thro' a late March snow, to a bush of sugar-trees;
    Step down the hill, when all is still, and soft blue smoke is curled
    In the frosty haze, where ice-gems blaze, when sundown takes the world.
    No honey of flowers in this world of ours, no sap of the Southern cane,
    Melts on the lip like the sweets that drip from a wounded maple's grain;
    And if you take up a gourd or a cup of the plain old-fashioned stamp,
    And sip some juice, you will then turn loose and shout in the sugar camp.

    The giants there have strength to spare; their seed no man has sown;
    But the Lord, who willed our good, has tilled and tended them alone.
    One hundred years of smiles and tears—of the sunshine and the dew—
    Have gone to build the tree that spilled its blood today for you.
    O to wander free, as I used to be, through that grand primeval grove,
    Meandering slow, as I used to go, with the sled and the team I drove!
    Don't talk to me of the barley-bree, that steeps in a stillhouse damp;
    There never was wine came out of the vine like the sap of a sugar camp.

    What are stately palms in the Syrian calms, or gardens of olives dim,
    To one who goes where the mighty rows of the maples make way for him,
    When the sap runs free as the melody of the robin above the shed,
    With the whole white earth beneath him and the whole blue sky o'erhead?
    For the happy man looks into the pan where the amber sweetness swirls,
    And sees the face and lightsome grace of the best of the country girls,
    And he seems to see that home to be, where, under the well-trimmed lamp,
    His wife doth wait, when he comes home late from work in the sugar camp.

    So he drives his sleigh down a winding way, along the moonlit lanes,
    To where the light of a farmhouse, bright, shines from the window-panes;
    Then, cuddled snug in the ample rug, o'er the snowy roads they whirr,
    While his sweetheart eats the spicy sweets he made that day for her.
    With tinkle of bells and song that swells, how gleaming miles unroll;
    And he tastes, so plain, the flavor again as he takes his lover's toll;
    For the sleigh is narrow, and one swift arrow from Cupid, the rosy scamp,
    Strikes man and maid from his ambuscade as they circle the sugar camp.

    How he smiles next day, as he toils away stirring the bubbling trough;
    For he must wait to know his fate till the night of the sugaring-off.
    Cupid makes his bows of wood that grows in the sugar-thicket's shade,
    And dips each shaft, clear down to the haft, in the syrup when 't is made.
    So all ends right, and I say to-night, though we have suffered and toiled,
    We could both forget our sorrows yet in a dipper of sap half-boiled.
    When we get to heaven we'll kiss our folks, then start for a happy tramp
    Up toward the headwaters of Paradise, just to work in the sugar camp.

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