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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

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THE SANDPIPER

[71] "The Sandpiper," by Celia Thaxter (1836-94), is placed here because a goodly percentage of the children who read it want to learn it.

Across the lonely beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I,

And fast I gather, bit by bit,

The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.

The wild waves reach their hands for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,

As up and down the beach we flit,

One little sandpiper and I.


Above our heads the sullen clouds

Scud, black and swift, across the sky;

Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds

Stand out the white lighthouses high.

Almost as far as eye can reach

I see the close-reefed vessels fly,

As fast we flit along the beach,

One little sandpiper and I.


I watch him as he skims along,

Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;

He starts not at my fitful song,

Nor flash of fluttering drapery.

He has no thought of any wrong,

He scans me with a fearless eye;

Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,

The little sandpiper and I.


Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,

When the loosed storm breaks furiously?

[72]

My driftwood fire will burn so bright!

To what warm shelter canst thou fly?

I do not fear for thee, though wroth

The tempest rushes through the sky;

For are we not God's children both,

Thou, little sandpiper, and I?


CELIA THAXTER.


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