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THE SPARROW'S MOURNERS

Sarah O. Jewett

The grass was growing fresh and green
   In all the sheltered places;
The winter storms and cold seemed done,
The children frolicked in the sun,
   With shouts and happy faces.

Next morning made that day a dream;
   For fast the snow was flying.
["]The grass will freeze," the children said.
"The little birds, we are afraid,
   With cold must all be dying."

But soon the sun came out again;
   Next day, before the gloaming,
The grass looked greener than before,
And close besides the garden-door
   A daffodil was blooming.

But, walking by the garden wall,
   I saw a little sparrow,
Who, frightened by the snow and wind,
Had frozen where he tried to find
   Warmth in a crevice narrow.

Poor little stranger! Tired and cold,
   With clothes he wore in summer,
How hard to change a southern nest
For wintry winds; no place to rest
   Or welcome a new-comer!

Some little birds sang overhead,
   So gay and merry-hearted.
They flew up northward side by side,
But did not seek the bird who died
   Or mourn their friend departed.

But, though his cronies did not grieve,
   The children felt much sorrow;
Walked in procession one by one;
They made his grave, and raised a stone
   Above it, on the morrow.

NOTE
"The Sparrow's Mourners" appeared in The Independent 26:15 (May 21, 1874). The quotation mark in brackets has been added.

Edited and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.


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