The Singing Garden

The Firetail Finches

C.J. Dennis

LIKE little children out from school
    We come in bevies, primly gay;
On sunlit lawn, in shadow cool
    With meek propriety we play
And in and out about the grass
    We weave, not for a moment still;
Determined, ere the daylight pass,
    To make our fun and eat our fill.

Our crimson kirtles bob about
    As here and there we bend and prance;
And in and out, and in and out—
    Like little children at a dance—
We never weary; nothing strange,
    We’ll tarry with you all the day,
Providing that you can arrange
    Good faring, and a field for play.

We build our quaint nests, swinging low
    Like childish stockings from a peg—
Hung topsy-turvy by the toe,
    The snug heel holding many an egg.
We set them in the scrubs remote
    Where no trespasser rude may roam,
And sit and sound a plaintive note
    To call a laggard help-mate home.

Watch when the late spring days are here;
    Watch in some meadow by a stream,
When cobwebs drift and disappear,
    And every drugged days is a dream;—
Watch till a crimson kirtle’s spied
    In sunlit grass or shadow cool,
Here comes our bevy, straggling wide,
    Like little children out from school.

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