By Albert Bigelow Paine
(1861 - 1937)
 
 
In Louisiana
 
 
THE LONG, gray moss that softly swings
    In solemn grandeur from the trees,
    Like mournful funeral draperies,—
A brown-winged bird that never sings.
 
A shallow, stagnant, inland sea,
    Where rank swamp grasses wave, and where
    A deadliness lurks in the air,—
A sere leaf falling silently.
 
The death-like calm on every hand,
    That one might deem it sin to break,
    So pure, so perfect,—these things make
The mournful beauty of this land.
 
 
The Little Child
 
 
A SIMPLE-HEARTED child was He,
  And He was nothing more;
In summer days, like you and me,
  He played about the door,
Or gathered, where the father toiled.
  The shavings from the floor.
 
Sometimes He lay upon the grass,
  The same as you and I,
And saw the hawks above Him pass
  Like specks against the sky;
Or, clinging to the gate, He watched
  The stranger passing by.
 
A simple child, and yet, I think,
  The bird-folk must have known,
The sparrow and the bobolink,
  And claimed Him for their own,—
They gathered round Him fearlessly
  When He was all alone.
 
The lark, the linnet, and the dove,
  The chaffinch and the wren,
They must have known His watchful love
  And given their worship then;
They must have known and glorified
  The child who died for men.
 
And when the sun at break of day
  Crept in upon His hair,
I think it must have left a ray
  Of unseen glory there,
A kiss of love on that little brow
  For the thorns that it must wear.
 
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