Celia Thaxter

Jun 29, 1835 - Aug 25, 1894


The Constant Dove

by Celia Thaxter

The white dove sat on the sunny eaves,
And What will you do when the north wind grieves?
She said to the busy nuthatch small,
Tapping above in the gable tall.

He probed each crack with his slender beak,
And much too busy he was to speak.
Spiders, that thought themselves safe and sound,
And moths and flies and cocoons he found.

Oh! but the white dove she was fair,
Bright she shone in the autumn air,
Turning her head from the left to the right;
Only to watch her was such delight!

Coo! she murmured, poor little thing,
What will you do when the frosts shall sting?
Spiders and flies will be hidden or dead,
Snow underneath and snow overhead.

Nuthatch paused in his busy care:
And what will you do, O white dove fair?
Oh, kind hands feed me with crumbs and grain,
And I wait with patience for spring again.

He laughed so loud that his laugh I heard
How can you be such a stupid bird!
What are your wings for, tell me, pray,
But to bear you from tempests and cold away?

Merrily off to the South I fly,
In search of the summer, presently,
And warmth and beauty I'll find anew.
Why don't you follow the summer, too?

But she cooed content on the sunny eaves,
And looked askance at the reddening leaves;
And grateful I whispered: O white dove true,
I'll feed you and love you the winter through.


Poems For Children
Copyright 1883
Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston
Illustrator: Miss A. G. Plymptom