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Poems About Objects

Table of Contents

  1. The Dying Lamp by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. A Thought On The Sea-Shore by John Newton
  3. The Water Mill by Sarah Doudney
  4. Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
  5. The Vanity of Earthly Objects by E.N.S.
  6. The Old Canoe by Anonymous
  7. The Old Frying Pan by James W. Whilt
  8. Boxes by Annette Wynne
  9. The Patchwork Quilt by Margaret E. Sangster
  10. Treasure Things by Annette Wynne
  11. The Little Straw Hat by Appleton Oaksmith

  1. The Dying Lamp

    Like thee, may she, who marked thy steady ray
    Through the hushed night, and then thy quick decline,
    Yield, while she treads life's short and shadowy way,
    Some cheering light, with purpose pure as thine!

    – Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Dying Lamp
    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Poor Dying Lamp! thou now art low and pale;
    Thine oil of life is out, thy purpose o'er;
    And thou art fainting, utterly to fail;
    In a few moments thou must be no more!

    The morning star has risen, and the dawn
    Hastens to chase the scattering shades away.
    They and thy feeble flame will soon be gone,
    And both forgotten in the glorious day.

    Well—thou hast done a kindly work to-night,
    And freely worn thyself away to shed
    Through the dark, silent chamber thy soft light,
    And show the watcher to the sick one's bed.

    A mild, bright minister of good to man,
    Wasting thyself for others, thou hast been,
    Since with the evening thy short life began,
    Till o'er the world the light of heaven pours in.

    But now thou art not needed thus to cast
    Thy beams around to cheer the wakeful eye;
    Since darkness with its solemn reign is past,
    Before the morning calmly dost thou die.

    Like thee, may she, who marked thy steady ray
    Through the hushed night, and then thy quick decline,
    Yield, while she treads life's short and shadowy way,
    Some cheering light, with purpose pure as thine!

    Then, when her work is finished—when her worth
    To others in their dark, sad hours shall cease,
    Not to survive it, may she pass from earth,
    And like her dying lamp go out in peace!

    14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

    – Matthew 5:14-16
    The Bible, ESV
  2. A Thought On The Sea-Shore

    by John Newton

    In ev'ry object here I see
    Something, O Lord, that leads to thee:
    Firm as the rocks thy promise stands,
    Thy mercies countless as the sands,
    Thy love a sea immensely wide,
    Thy grace an ever-flowing tide.
    In ev'ry object here I see
    Something, my heart, that points at thee
    Hard as the rocks that bound the strand,
    Unfruitful as the barren sand,
    Deep and deceitful as the ocean,
    And, like the tide, in constant motion.

  3. The Water Mill

    by Sarah Doudney

    Oh! listen to the water mill, through all the livelong day,
    As the clicking of the wheels wears hour by hour away;
    How languidly the autumn wind does stir the withered leaves
    As in the fields the reapers sing, while binding up their sheaves!
    A solemn proverb strikes my mind, and as a spell is cast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    The summer winds revive no more leaves strewn o'er earth and main,
    The sickle nevermore will reap the yellow garnered grain;
    The rippling stream flows on—aye, tranquil, deep and still,
    But never glideth back again to busy water mill;
    The solemn proverb speaks to all with meaning deep and vast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Ah! clasp the proverb to thy soul, dear loving heart and true,
    For golden years are fleeting by and youth is passing too;
    Ah! learn to make the most of life, nor lose one happy day,
    For time will ne'er return sweet joys neglected, thrown away;
    Nor leave one tender word unsaid, thy kindness sow broadcast—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Oh! the wasted hours of life, that have swiftly drifted by,
    Alas! the good we might have done, all gone without a sigh;
    Love that we might once have saved by a single kindly word,
    Thoughts conceived, but ne'er expressed, perishing unpenned, unheard.
    Oh! take the lesson to thy soul, forever clasp it fast—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Work on while yet the sun doth shine, thou man of strength and will,
    The streamlet ne'er doth useless glide by clicking water mill;
    Nor wait until to-morrow's light beams brightly on thy way,
    For all that thou canst call thine own lies in the phrase "to-day."
    Possession, power and blooming health must all be lost at last—
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

    Oh! love thy God and fellowman, thyself consider last,
    For come it will when thou must scan dark errors of the past;
    Soon will this fight of life be o'er and earth recede from view,
    And heaven in all its glory shine, where all is pure and true.
    Ah! then thou'lt see more clearly still the proverb deep and vast,
    "The mill will never grind again with water that is past."

  4. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    by John Keats

    Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
    Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
    A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
    What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
    Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
    Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
    Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
    Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
    Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
    Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

    Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
    Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
    And, happy melodist, unwearied,
    For ever piping songs for ever new;
    More happy love! more happy, happy love!
    For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
    All breathing human passion far above,
    That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

    Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
    To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
    Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
    And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
    What little town by river or sea shore,
    Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
    And, little town, thy streets for evermore
    Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

    O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
    Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
    With forest branches and the trodden weed;
    Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
    As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
    When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
    "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

  5. The Vanity of Earthly Objects

    by E.N.S.

    Away ye tempting toys—begone!
    False joys do you present;
    Your fairest proffers now I spurn,
    In craftiness they're meant,
    To lure me to the gilded bait,
    Of promised happiness;
    Where many find, alas! too late,
    It cannot be possess'd.

    For where shall happiness be found,
    In this terrestrial frame?
    We search this ample globe around,
    And find it but in name;
    As we approach, the vision flies,
    We lose the form so fair,
    Ere we can grasp the wish'd for prize,
    We find it nought but air;
    True happiness alone is found
    In that bright world above,
    Where purity and peace abound,
    And harmony and love.

  6. The Old Canoe

    by Anonymous

    Where the rocks are gray, and the shore is steep,
    And the waters below look dark and deep;
    Where the rugged pine in its lonely pride
    Leans gloomily over the murky tide;
    Where the reeds and rushes are long and lank,
    And the weeds grow thick on the winding bank;
    Where the shadow is heavy the whole day through,—
    There lies at its moorings the old canoe.

    The useless paddles are idly dropped,
    Like a sea-bird's wing that the storm has lopped,
    And crossed on the railing one o'er one,
    Like the folded hands when the work is done;
    While busily back and forth between
    The spider stretches his silvery screen,
    And the solemn owl, with its dull tu-whoo,
    Settles down on the side of the old canoe.

    The stern half sunk in the slimy wave
    Rots slowly away in its living grave,
    And the green moss creeps o'er its dull decay,
    Hiding its mouldering dust away,
    Like the hand that plants o'er the tomb a flower,
    Or the ivy that mantles the falling tower;
    While many a blossom of loveliest hue
    Springs up o'er the stern of the old canoe.

    The currentless waters are dead and still,
    The twilight-wind plays with the boat at will,
    And lazily in and out again
    It floats the length of its rusty chain;
    Like the weary march of the hands of Time
    That meet and part at the noontide chime,
    As the shore is kissed at each turn anew,
    By the dripping bow of the old canoe.

    Oh, many a time, with careless hand,
    I have pushed it away from the pebbly strand!
    And paddled it down where the stream runs quick,
    Where the whirls are wild and the eddies thick.
    And laughed as I leaned o'er the rocking side,
    And looked below in the broken tide,
    To see that the faces and boats were two
    That were mirrored back from the old canoe.

    But now, as I lean o'er the crumbling side
    And look below in the sluggish tide,
    The face that I see there is graver grown,
    And the laugh that I hear has a soberer tone,
    And the hands that lent to the light skiff wings
    Have grown familiar with sterner things.
    But I love to think of the hours that sped
    As I rocked where the whirls their white spray shed,
    Ere the blossom waved or the green grass grew
    O'er the mouldering stern of the old canoe.

  7. The Old Frying Pan

    by James W. Whilt

    You may talk of your broilers, both single and double,
    Your roasters and toasters, they're all lots of trouble;
    But when out in the hills, just find if you can,
    Any kind of a dish like the old frying pan.

    Over a campfire you don't need a stove,
    Out in the hills, the place we all love,
    Such hotcakes they never were tasted by man,
    With many the thanks to the old frying pan.

    When the trout are all fried to a rich golden brown,
    I know old epicures would look, with a frown
    At the meal set before me; dispute it who can,
    With naught for a plate but the old frying pan.

    With the venison cooked, the potatoes all fried,
    Bannocks like bed-quilts, with coffee beside,
    You could eat till you busted, dispute it who can;
    Was dish e'er invented like the old frying pan?

    Many a miner, in the good days of old,
    Way back in the foothills a-searching for gold
    Deep in some creek-bed, for the rich yellow sand,
    Has panned out a grub-stake with the old frying pan.

    There's been cattle rustlers, when in a great hurry
    Used no other iron, but why should they worry,
    For many and many and many the brand,
    That has been blotched out with an old frying pan.

    So your praises I'll shout, both far, wide and high,
    That you're the best dish, till the day that I die;
    Why, there's many a woman "cleaned up" on her man
    With no other club but the old frying pan.

  8. Boxes

    by Annette Wynne

    Boxes are for holding things,
    Nails or candies, coal or rings,
    Holding anything at all,
    Big or medium or small;
    I sometimes think the house a box
    With doors and windows, keys and locks.

  9. The Patchwork Quilt

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    In sheen of silken splendor,
    With glinting threads of gold,
    I've seen the priceless marvels
    Once hung in halls of old,
    Where fair hands wrought the lily,
    And brave hands held the lance,
    And stately lords and ladies
    Stepped through the courtly dance.

    I've looked on rarer fabrics,
    The wonders of the loom,
    That caught the flowers of summer,
    And captive held their bloom;
    But not their wreathing beauty,
    Though fit for queens to wear,
    Can with one household treasure,
    That's all my own, compare.

    It has no golden value,
    The simple patchwork spread,—
    Its squares in homely fashion
    Set in with green and red;
    But in those faded pieces
    For me are shining bright,
    Ah! many a summer morning,
    And many a winter night.

    The dewy breath of clover,
    The leaping light of flame,
    Like spells my heart come over,
    As one by one I name
    These bits of old-time dresses—
    Chintz, cambric, calico—
    That looked so fresh and dainty
    On my darlings long ago.

    This violet was mother's;
    I seem to see her face,
    That ever like a sunrise
    Lit up the shadiest place.
    This buff belonged to Susan;
    That scarlet spot was mine;
    And Fannie wore this pearly white,
    Where purple pansies shine.

    I turn my patchwork over—
    A book with pictured leaves—
    And I feel the lilac fragrance,
    And the snow-fall on the eaves.
    Of all my heart's possessions,
    I think it least could spare
    The quilt we children pieced at home
    When mother dear was there.

  10. Treasure-Things

    by Annette Wynne

    Bits of tin and colored glass,
    Nails and knives and strings,
    Keep them in a treasure-box,
    For these are treasure-things;
    Wrap them up most neatly,
    Keep them hidden so,
    For what are really treasure-things
    Parents never know.

  11. The Little Straw Hat

    by Appleton Oaksmith

    We all of us have our secret hoard
    Of things that we cherish and tenderly prize—
    Things that are neither of value or rare,
    Or for which any one else would care,
    Yet priceless to us—and we keep them stored
    Far from the sight of all other eyes.

    I have one treasure among my store,
    Which is dearer than all of the rest to me!
    You will smile mayhap with unbelief,
    Unless you have had the self-same grief;
    For the trifles of those who are no more,
    The loved and the lost grow precious to be.

    Would you know what it is, so dear to my eyes,
    And what so often will make them dim?
    For it brings to mind the dear little head
    That so long has slept with the loved ones dead,
    'Tis nothing—this thing that I so much prize—
    But a little straw hat with a ragged brim.

    I often unlock the closet door
    And bring it tenderly forth to the light;
    The ribbon is faded, 'tis torn and old,
    But no one could buy it with gold untold;
    And many a time on the chamber floor
    I have wept and kissed it half the night.

    I love it only as a mother can love
    The simple things of her little dead;
    I prize it as only a mother can prize
    The things so worthless in other eyes;
    For it symbols the crown that I know above
    Covers the little one's head.

    With streaming eyes I can often see
    The sweet little face in the sunlight glow,
    Looking forth from the ragged brim
    With the saucy glance so sweet in him,
    When he used to romp in the grass with me,
    In the summers so long ago.

    The little one had his holiday dress,
    With a hat that was very fine and grand;
    But it never to me was half so dear
    As the one I have cherished for many a year,
    For my lips the very spot can press
    Where 't was torn by the little hand.

    I have diamonds rare, and many a gem,
    With which sometimes my hair I trim,
    When forth in the world I am forced to go,
    To mix with the mockery and show:
    But there's none that I prize—not all of them—
    Like the little straw hat with the ragged brim.

    We are told that earth's treasures we must not hoard,
    Where moth doth corrupt and rust doth dim;
    Yet this is but a memento I love
    Of the priceless treasure I have above;
    It is not for it my tears are poured—
    This little straw hat with the ragged brim.

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