Kids Poems » The Children At The Oak
Beneath an old oak's leafy shade,
In careless infant glee,
Three little children sat, and played,
Or chased about the tree.
So light and airily they went,
With each a beaming face,
The grass beneath their footsteps bent,
Sprang back, and took its place.
The flowers they'd plucked and carried there,
Lay scattered all around,
And spread their odors on the air,
While they adorned the ground.
A bright embroidery they made,
To decorate the scene,
In sweet confusion, lightly laid
Upon the silken green.
As round the tree they ran and leapt,
Those gladsome little boys
Upon the last year's acorns stepped,
And gathered them for toys.
When down they sat, to count them o'er,
Beneath those branches high,
That once the pretty play-things bore,
An aged man drew nigh.
His hair was white- -his eye was dim ;
So slow his way he made,
The children, rising, ran to him,
And led him to the shade.
When, braced against the firm old oak,
And leaning on his staff,
He listened, while the prattlers spoke,
And joined their childish laugh.
Then every acorn offered up,
With smooth and pointed cone
Set close within its bossy cup,
Was to the patriarch shown.
Said he, " My little children dear,
Take each an acorn sound,
And, though an old man's word you hear,
Go hide it in the ground.
" For every one a future oak
Contains within its shell ;
And when the germ its sheath has broke,
'Twill peer from out the cell.
" Then three young trees, all firm and bright,
And this in swift decay,
Will stand in their beholder's sight,
As we, in ours, to-day.
" My father, when a playful child
But in his seventh year,
An acorn from the forest wild
Brought out^ and planted here.
" Thence rose the good old tree, which thus
Throws wide its leafy veil,
And stands, while overshadowing us,
A witness to my tale.
" And even to his latest days,
By planting seed or shoot,
He loved the infant tree to raise
For future shade or fruit.
" For while he knew he might not see
The blossom deck the limb,
He reared them as a good to be
For others after him.
" When, feeling life's swift years were spent,
He saw its end appear,
He asked to have his monument
The oak he planted here.
.. And now, beneath this grassy mound
In nature's beauty dressed,
Which you have scattered flowers around,
His hallowed ashes rest.
' And I, in every blooming year
From infancy till now,
Have listened to the warblers here,
That sang from bough to bough.
" Full fourscore summers have I come
To hear their carol gay ;
And yet they seem but as the sum
Of hours that make a day !
" While hence I've viewed the plant and flower
That decked the hill and mead,
They seemed epistles, traced by Power
Above, for man to read."
" When o'er my head, soft winds passed by,
And threw the leaves apart,
Methought sweet whispers from the sky,
Were breathed upon my heart.
"They seemed my father's angel voice,
In tones of peace and love,
That bade me make my early choice
A treasure pure above.
" For he, when, but a child, he laid
In earth the acorn low,
Resigned his heart to Him who made
The oak spring up, and grow.
" That God, who called my father hence
From sorrow, pain, and dust,
Was then his orphan's sure defence,
Is now my joy and trust.
"'Tis he who makes the old man smile,
Though trembling, hoar, and dim ;
For now 'tis but a little while
Ere I shall be with Him !"
The speaker ceased ; when, quick and mute,
Each listener stepped apart ;
In earth to lay the oaken fruit,
As faith lay in his heart.