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Sparrow Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Sparrow's Little Wings by Annette Wynne
  2. Friend Song-Sparrow by Amos Russel Wells
  3. The Sparrow by Anonymous
  4. What the Sparrow Chirps by Anonymous
  5. Sparrows by Adeline D. Train Whitney
  6. The Cheery Chewink by Anonymous
  7. To a Hedge-Sparrow by Richard Barnfield
  8. To The Golden-Crowned Sparrow in Alaska by John Burroughs
  9. The Vesper Sparrow by John Burroughs
  10. The Bush-Sparrow by John Burroughs
  11. The Song Sparrow by William Cullen Bryant
  12. The Song Sparrow by Archibald Lampman
  13. The Song-Sparrow by George Parsons Lathrop
  14. A Song-Sparrow in March by Lucy Larcom
  15. The Myth of the Song Sparrow by Ernest Seton Thompson
  16. The Song-Sparrow by Celia Thaxter
  17. The Song-Sparrow by Henry Van Dyke
  18. The Sparrow by Laurence Dunbar
  19. What the Sparrows Taught by Albina Brockway Letts

  1. The Sparrow's Little Wings

    by Annette Wynne

    The sparrow's little wings can bear him fast and high,
    As safely as an airplane that hurries through the sky,
    The airplane's made of wood but the sparrow's little wings
    Are safer and more curious than any madeup things.

  2. Friend Song-Sparrow

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Blithe little song-sparrow, friendly cheery,
    Fearlessly, sociably carolling near me,
    Varying ever the song that you sing,
    Yet always a run in it,
    Always the sun in it,
    Always good news in the greeting you bring.

    Out of what well do you draw your contentment,
    Buoyant and brotherly, free of resentment?
    Where were you taught your exhilarant song,
    With always a trill in it,
    Nothing of ill in it,
    Nothing but happiness trusting and strong?

    Modest brown body all barren of splendor,
    Heart of all beauty outreaching and tender,
    Crowning the thicket with glory of praise,
    And always a trill in it,—
    That is the thrill in it,—
    Teach me the Joy of your carolling days!

  3. The Sparrow

    by Anonymous

    Glad to see you, little bird;
    'Twas your little chirp I heard:
    What did you intend to say?
    "Give me something this cold day"?

    That I will, and plenty, too;
    All the crumbs I saved for you.
    Don't be frightened—here's a treat:
    I will wait and see you eat.

    Shocking tales I hear of you;
    Chirp, and tell me, are they true?
    Robbing all the summer long;
    Don't you think it very wrong?

    Thomas says you steal his wheat;
    John complains, his plums you eat—
    Choose the ripest for your share,
    Never asking whose they are.

    But I will not try to know
    What you did so long ago:
    There's your breakfast, eat away;
    Come to see me every day.

  4. What the Sparrow Chirps

    by Anonymous

    I am only a little sparrow,
    A bird of low degree;
    My life is of little value,
    But the dear Lord cares for me.

    He gave me a coat of feathers;
    It is very plain, I know,
    With never a speck of crimson,
    For it was not made for show.

    But it keeps me warm in winter,
    And it shields me from the rain;
    Were it bordered with gold or purple
    Perhaps it would make me vain.

    By and by, when spring-time comes,
    I’ll build myself a nest,
    With many a chirp of pleasure,
    In the spot I like the best.

    And He will give me wisdom
    To build it of leaves most brown;
    Soft it must be for my birdies,
    And so I will line it with down.

    I have no barn or storehouse,
    I neither sow nor reap;
    God gives me a sparrow’s portion,
    But never a seed to keep.

    If my meal is sometimes scanty,
    Close picking makes it sweet;
    I have always enough to feed me,
    And “life is more than meat.”

    I know there are many sparrows—
    All over the world we are found—
    But our heavenly Father knoweth
    When one of us falls to the ground.

    Though small, we are never forgotten; Though weak, we are never afraid;
    For we know that the dear Lord keepeth The life of the creatures he made.

    I fly through the thickest forests,
    I light on many a spray;
    I have no chart or compass,
    But I never lose my way.

    And I fold my wings at twilight,
    Wherever I happen to be;
    For the Father is always watching,
    And no harm will come to me.

    I am only a little sparrow,
    A bird of low degree,
    But I know that the Father loves me.
    Have you less faith than we?

    28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

    – Matthew 10:28-29
  5. Sparrows

    by Adeline D. Train Whitney

    Little birds sit on the telegraph wires,
    And chitter, and flitter, and fold their wings;
    Maybe they think that, for them and their sires,
    Stretched always, on purpose, those wonderful strings:
    And, perhaps, the Thought that the world inspires,
    Did plan for the birds, among other things.

    Little birds sit on the slender lines,
    And the news of the world runs under their feet,—
    How value rises, and how declines,
    How kings with their armies in battle meet,—
    And, all the while, 'mid the soundless signs,
    They chirp their small gossipings, foolish sweet.

    Little things light on the lines of our lives,—
    Hopes, and joys, and acts of to-day,—
    And we think that for these the Lord contrives,
    Nor catch what the hidden lightnings say.
    Yet, from end to end, His meaning arrives,
    And His word runs underneath, all the way.

    Is life only wires and lightning, then,
    Apart from that which about it clings?
    Are the thoughts, and the works, and the prayers of men
    Only sparrows that light on God's telegraph strings,
    Holding a moment, and gone again?
    Nay; He planned for the birds, with the larger things.

  6. The Cheery Chewink

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Chewink! Chewink!" a sprightly sound
    Ringing across the bushy ground,
    A worker's challenge bold and free,
    The alto call of industry.

    Deep in the underbrush is heard
    The scratching of the busy bird;
    Behold, with energetic heaves,
    Both feet at once, he flings the leaves.

    But ever, pausing on the brink
    Of new descent—Chewink! Chewink!—
    He shouts his slogan clear and strong,
    And glorifies his work with song.

    No dreary drudgery for him,
    A very dandy gay and trim,
    With black and white and ruddy brown,
    The smartest gentleman in town!

    Ah, brother toilers, bent and worn
    Beneath your burdens all forlorn,
    Your work's a martyrdom, you think?
    Just hear that bird: "Chewink! Chewink!"

  7. To a Hedge-Sparrow

    by Anonymous

    Little flutt'rer swifter flying,
    Here is none to harm thee near;
    Kite, nor hawk, nor schoolboy prying;
    Little flutt'rer! cease to fear.

    One who would protect thee ever,
    From the schoolboy, kite and hawk,
    Musing, now obtrudes, but never
    Dreamt of plunder in his walk.

    He no weasel, stealing slyly,
    Would permit thy eggs to take;
    Nor the polecat, nor the wily
    Adder, nor the writhéd snake.

    May no cuckoos, wandering near thee,
    Lay her egg within thy nest;
    Nor thy young ones, born to cheer thee,
    Be destroyed by such a guest!

    Little flutt'rer swiftly flying,
    Here is none to harm thee near;
    Kite, nor hawk, nor schoolboy prying;
    Little flutt'rer! cease to fear.

  8. To The Golden-Crowned Sparrow in Alaska

    by John Burroughs

    Oh, minstrel of these borean hills,
    Where twilight hours are long,
    I would my boyhood's fragrant days
    Had known thy plaintive song,

    Had known thy vest of ashen gray,
    Thy coat of drab and brown,
    The bands of jet upon thy head,
    That clasp thy golden crown.

    We heard thee in the cold White Pass,
    Where cloud and mountain meet,
    Again where Muir's great glacier shone
    Far spread beneath our feet.

    I bask me now on emerald heights
    To catch thy faintest strain;
    But cannot tell if in thy lay
    Be more of joy or pain.

    Far off behold the snow white peaks
    Athwart the sea's blue shade;
    Anear there rise green Kadiak hills,
    Wherein thy nest is made.

    I hear the wild bee's mellow chord,
    In airs that swim above;
    The lesser hermit tunes his flute,
    To solitude and love.

    Farewell, dear bird, I turn my face
    To other skies than thine;
    A thousand leagues of land and sea
    Between thy home and mine.

  9. The Vesper Sparrow

    by John Burroughs

    Dear minstrel of the twilight fields,
    Whose voice from out a tranquil breast
    In vesper hymn sweet solace yields
    When closing day invites to rest,
    "Peace, good-will," and then good-night,
    While toil and care now take their flight.

    Now rests thy form close to the ground,
    Or perched upon a warm gray stone
    As upward floats this lulling sound,
    Cheering thy mate who sits alone,
    "Peace, good-will," and then to rest,
    With loving thoughts of mate and nest.

    Thy nest is hidden in the grass,
    If blending colors be to hide—
    Like raindrop resting on the glass,
    Or darting grayling in the tide.
    "Peace, good-will," then close the eye
    While fades the light in western sky.

    The shadows deepen 'neath the hills,
    I breathe the breath of summer nights—
    The pastoral fragrance that o'erspills
    These gently sloping grassy heights.
    "Peace, good-will," then fold the wings
    Till morrow's sun new gladness brings.

    Thy vespers rise from near and far
    When groves are hushed and meadows mute;
    Sometimes I catch a single bar
    Like wandering notes from silver flute.
    "Peace, good-will,"; warm broods the night
    While moon and stars shed silvery light.

    A bleating lamb just stirs the hush
    That soft is stealing o'er the scene;
    Then faintly comes the roar and rush
    Of distant train the hills between.
    "Peace, good-will," and do not fear,
    Thy watchful mate is ever near.

    Now all is still, the day is done,
    Thy head is tucked beneath the wing,
    A silver web by Luna spun
    O'er all the hills is glistening.
    "Peace, good-will," and then good-night
    Till skies are filled with morning light.

  10. The Bush-Sparrow

    by John Burroughs

    In the bushy pastures
    Ere April days are done,
    Or 'long the forest border
    Ere chewink has begun,
    Is Spizella trilling
    In notes that circling run
    Like wavelets in the water
    A-rippling in the sun.

    A gentle, timid rustic
    Who makes the dingle ring,
    Or round about the orchard
    Where bush and brier cling.
    Most tuneful of the sparrows,
    My bird with russet wing,—
    A joy in early summer,
    A thrill in early spring.

    His coat has russet trimmings,
    And russet is his crown;
    Less bright and trim of feather
    Than chippy, near the town;
    A plainer country cousin,
    With plainer country gown,
    Who loves the warmth of summer,
    But dreads the autumn's frown.

    He hides in weedy vineyards
    When August days are here,
    And taps the purple clusters
    For a bit of social cheer;
    The boys have caught him at it,
    The proof is fairly clear;
    And still I bid him welcome,
    The pilf'ring little dear;
    He pays me off in music,
    And pays me every year.

  11. The Song Sparrow

    by William Cullen Bryant

    Bird of the door-side, warbling clear,
    In the sprouting or fading year!
    Well art thou named from thy own sweet lay,
    Piped from paling or naked spray,
    As the smile of the sun breaks through
    Chill gray clouds that curtain the blue.

    Even when February bleak
    Smites with his sleet the traveller's cheek,
    While the air has no touch of spring,
    Bird of promise! we hear thee sing.
    Long ere the first blossom wakes,
    Long ere the earliest leaf-bud breaks.

    April passes and May steals by;
    June leads in the sultry July;
    Sweet are the wood-notes, loud and sweet,
    Poured from the robin's and hang-bird's seat;
    Thou, as the green months glide away,
    Singest with them as gayly as they.

    August comes, and the melon and maize
    Bask and swell in a fiery blaze;
    Swallows gather, and, southward bound,
    Wheel, like a whirl-blast, round and round;
    Thrush and robin their songs forget;
    Thou art cheerfully warbling yet.

    Later still, when the sumach spray
    Reddens to crimson, day by day;
    When in the orchard, one by one,
    Apples drop in the ripening sun,
    They who pile them beneath the trees
    Hear thy lay in the autumn breeze.

    Comes November, sullen and grim,
    Spangling with frost the rivulet's brim,
    Harsh, hoarse winds from the woodlands tear
    Each brown leaf that is clinging there.
    Still thou singest, amid the blast,
    "Soon is the dreariest season past."

    Only when Christmas snow-storms make
    Smooth white levels of river and lake,
    Sifting the light flakes all day long,
    Only then do we miss thy song;
    Sure to hear it again when soon
    Climbs the sun to a higher noon.

    Now, when tidings that make men pale —
    Tidings of slaughter — load the gale;
    While, from the distant camp, there come
    Boom of cannon and roll of drum,
    Still thou singest, beside my door,
    "Soon is the stormiest season o'er."

    Ever thus sing cheerfully on,
    Bird of Hope! as in ages gone;
    Sing of spring-time and summer-shades,
    Autumn's pomp when the summer fades,
    Storms that fly from the conquering sun,
    Peace by enduring valor won.

  12. The Song-Sparrow

    by George Parsons Lathrop

    Glimmers gray the leafless thicket
    Close beside my garden gate,
    Where, so light, from post to picket
    Hops the sparrow, blithe, sedate;
    Who, with meekly folded wing,
    Comes to sun himself and sing.

    It was there, perhaps, last year,
    That his little house he built;
    For he seems to perk and peer,
    And to twitter, too, and tilt
    The bare branches in between,
    With a fond, familiar mien.

    Once, I know, there was a nest,
    Held there by the sideward thrust
    Of those twigs that touch his breast;
    Though 'tis gone now. Some rude gust
    Caught it, over-full of snow,—
    Bent the bush,—and stole it so.

    Thus our highest holds are lost,
    In the ruthless winter's wind,
    When, with swift-dismantling frost,
    The green woods we dwelt in, thinn'd
    Of their leafage, grow too cold
    For frail hopes of summer's mold.

    But if we, with spring-days mellow,
    Wake to woeful wrecks of change,
    And the sparrow's ritornello
    Scaling still its old sweet range;
    Can we do a better thing
    Than, with him, still build and sing?

    Oh, my sparrow, thou dost breed
    Thought in me beyond all telling;
    Shootest through me sunlight, seed,
    And fruitful blessing, with that welling
    Ripple of ecstatic rest
    Gurgling ever from thy breast!

    And thy breezy carol spurs
    Vital motion in my blood,
    Such as in the sap-wood stirs,
    Swells and shapes the pointed bud
    Of the lilac; and besets
    The hollow thick with violets.

    Yet I know not any charm
    That can make the fleeting time
    Of thy sylvan, faint alarm
    Suit itself to human rhyme:
    And my yearning rhythmic word
    Does thee grievous wrong, blithe bird.

    So, however thou hast wrought
    This wild joy on heart and brain,
    It is better left untaught.
    Take thou up the song again:
    There is nothing sad afloat
    On the tide that swells thy throat!

  13. The Song Sparrow

    by Archibald Lampman

    Fair little scout, that when the iron year
    Changes, and the first fleecy clouds deploy,
    Comest with such a sudden burst of joy,
    Lifting on winter's doomed and broken rear
    That song of silvery triumph blithe and clear;
    Not yet quite conscious of the happy glow,
    We hungered for some surer touch, and lo!
    One morning we awake, and thou art here.
    And thousands of frail-stemmed hepaticas,
    With their crisp leaves and pure and perfect hues,
    Light sleepers, ready for the golden news,
    Spring at thy note beside the forest ways—
    Next to thy song, the first to deck the hour—
    The classic lyrist and the classic flower.

  14. A Song-Sparrow in March

    by Lucy Larcom

    How much do the birds know afloat in the air
    Of our changeable, strange human life and its care?
    Who can tell what they utter,
    With carol and flutter,
    Of the joy of our hearts, or the pain hidden there?

    In the March morning twilight I turned from a bed
    Where a soul had just risen from a form lying dead:
    The dim world was ringing
    With a song-sparrow's singing
    That went up and pierced the gray dawn overhead.

    It rose like an ecstasy loosed from the earth;
    Like a rapture repeating the song of its birth;
    In that clear burst of gladness
    Night shook off her sadness,
    And death itself echoed the heavenly mirth.

    While her sorrowful burden the sufferer laid by,
    The little bird passed, and caught up to the sky,
    And sang to gray meadow
    And mist-wreath and shadow
    The triumph a mortal had found it to die.

    Oh, the birds cannot tell what it is that they sing!
    But to me must the song-sparrow's melody bring,
    Whenever I hear it,
    The joy of a spirit
    Released into life on that dim dawn of spring.

  15. The Myth of the Song Sparrow

    by Ernest Seton Thompson

    His mother was the Brook, his sisters were the Reeds,
    And they every one applauded when he sang about his deeds.
    His vest was white, his mantle brown, as clear as they could be,
    And his songs were fairly bubbling o er with melody and glee.
    But an envious Neighbor splashed with mud our Brownie's coat and vest,
    And then a final handful threw that stuck upon his breast.
    The Brook-bird's mother did her best to wash the stains away,
    But there they stuck, and, as it seems, are very like to stay.
    And so he wears the splashes and the mud blotch, as you see,
    But his songs are bubbling over still with melody and glee.

  16. The Song-Sparrow

    by Celia Thaxter

    In this sweet, tranquil afternoon of spring,
    While the low sun declines in the clear west,
    I sit and hear the blithe song-sparrow sing
    His strain of rapture not to be suppressed;
    Pondering life's problem strange, while death draws near,
    I listen to his dauntless song of cheer.

    His shadow flits across the quiet stone;
    Like that brief transit is my space of days;
    For, like a flower's faint perfume, youth is flown
    Already, and there rests on all life's ways
    A dimness; closer my beloved I clasp,
    For all dear things seem slipping from my grasp.

    Death touches all; the light of loving eyes
    Goes out in darkness, comfort is withdrawn;
    Lonely, and lonelier still the pathway lies,
    Going toward the fading sunset from the dawn:
    Yet hark! while those fine notes the silence break,
    As if all trouble were some grave mistake!

    Thou little bird, how canst thou thus rejoice,
    As if the world had known nor sin nor curse?
    God never meant to mock us with that voice!
    That is the key-note of the universe,
    That song of perfect trust, of perfect cheer,
    Courageous, constant, free of doubt or fear.

    My little helper, ah, my comrade sweet,
    My old companion in that far-off time
    When on life's threshold childhood's wingèd feet
    Danced in the sunrise! Joy was at its prime
    When all my heart responded to thy song,
    Unconscious of earth's discords harsh and strong.

    Now, grown aweary, sad with change and loss,
    With the enigma of myself dismayed;
    Poor, save in deep desire to bear the cross
    God's hand on his defenseless creatures laid,
    With patience, — here I sit this eve of spring,
    And listen with bowed head, while thou dost sing.

    And slowly all my soul with comfort fills,
    And the old hope revives and courage grows;
    Up the deserted shore a fresh tide thrills,
    And like a dream the dark mood melts and goes,
    And with thy joy again will I rejoice:
    God never meant to mock us with that voice!

  17. The Song-Sparrow

    by Henry Van Dyke

    There is a bird I know so well,
    It seems as if he must have sung
    Beside my crib when I was young;
    Before I knew the way to spell
    The name of even the smallest bird,
    His gentle, joyful song I heard.
    Now see if you can tell, my dear,
    What bird it is, that every year,
    Sings “Sweet—sweet—sweet—very merry cheer.”

    He comes in March, when winds are strong,
    And snow returns to hide the earth;
    But still he warms his head with mirth,
    And waits for May. He lingers long
    While flowers fade, and every day
    Repeats his sweet, contented lay;
    As if to say we need not fear
    The season’s change, if love is here,
    With “Sweet—sweet—sweet—very merry cheer.”

    He does not wear a Joseph’s coat
    Of many colors, smart and gay;
    His suit is Quaker brown and gray,
    With darker patches at his throat.
    And yet of all the well-dressed throng,
    Not one can sing so brave a song.
    It makes the pride of looks appear
    A vain and foolish thing to hear
    His “Sweet—sweet—sweet—very merry cheer.”

  18. The Sparrow

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    A little bird, with plumage brown,
    Beside my window flutters down,
    A moment chirps its little strain,
    Then taps upon my window-pane,
    And chirps again, and hops along,
    To call my notice to its song;
    But I work on, nor heed its lay,
    Till, in neglect, it flies away.

    So birds of peace and hope and love
    Come fluttering earthward from above,
    To settle on life's window-sills,
    And ease our load of earthly ills;
    But we, in traffic's rush and din
    Too deep engaged to let them in,
    With deadened heart and sense plod on,
    Nor know our loss till they are gone.

  19. What the Sparrows Taught

    by Albina Brockway Letts

    The sky was leaden, the wind sighed low,
    And my heart was bowed with care,
    No peace, and no light my feet to guide,
    And none my grief could share.
    For the sorrow was one I must hide in my heart,
    Lest the world should hear its moan,
    And the heavens were as brass to my beating prayers,
    And how could my days go on?

    A shower of shadows across the pane,
    A sound as of whirring wings,
    And the snow was flecked with tiny birds.
    Little twittering, chirping things!
    The sparrows! Did the loving Father cast them forth
    Fresh formed, from His tender hand,
    A sweet rebuke for the blind unbelief,
    That forgets His word must stand?

    That He sayeth: If I take such loving heed
    Of a little worthless waif,
    Shall I not care for your sorer need?
    Oh, Ye of such little faith!
    The sun did not shine or the sorrow flee,
    But sweet peace on my spirit fell;
    He cares for the sparrows, for mine and for me,
    He careth, and all is well.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

– Jesus
Matthew 10:31, KJV

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