Spring watch

A poem by Frances Watkins Harper:


Welcome children of the Spring,
   In your garbs of green and gold,
Lifting up your sun-crowned heads
   On the verdant plain and wold.

As a bright and joyous troop
   From the breast of earth ye came
Fair and lovely are your cheeks,
   With sun-kisses all aflame.

In the dusty streets and lanes,
   Where the lowly children play,
There as gentle friends ye smile,
   Making brighter life’s highway

Dewdrops and the morning sun,
   Weave your garments fair and bright,
And we welcome you to-day
   As the children of the light.

Children of the earth and sun.
   We are slow to understand
All the richness of the gifts
   Flowing from our Father’s hand.

Published in Poems by Frances Watkins Harper, 1895. Complete book at Project Gutenberg.

While searching for poetry by Unitarians and Universalists, I came across “Dandelions.” Even though Frances Harper uses late 19th C. American poetic conventions which may sound dated to our ears, her images and her thinking captured my attention. I liked the image of “Where the lowly children play/ There as gentle friends ye smile”; which is both profoundly egalitarian, while also in the context of the poem perhaps offering an exegesis of Mark 10.13-16 where Jesus befriends children.

And I particularly liked the image of humanity she offers in the fifth and sixth stanzas, when she calls us human beings “the children of the light. / Children of the earth and sun.” Those two lines alone make the poem for me.

This being the week when dandelions are beginning to appear widely in New Bedford, I thought I’d post the poem here as a sort of meditation on the season.

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