There's a gaping rent in the curtain
   That longs for a needle and thread,
There's a garment that ought to be finished,
   And a book that wants to be read.
There's a letter that needs to be answered,
   There are clothes to fold away,
And I know these tasks are waiting,
   And ought to be done to-day.

But how can I mend the curtain,
   While watching this silvery cloud,
And how can I finish th' garment,
   When the robin calls so loud.
And the whispering trees are telling
   Such stories above my head,
That I can but lie and listen,
   And the book is all unread.

If I try to write the letter,
   I am sure one half the words
Will be in the curious language
   Of my chattering friends, the birds.
The lilacs bloom in the sunshine,
   The roses nod and smile,
And the clothes that ought to be folded
   And ironed, must wait awhile.

I lie in the locust shadows,
   And gaze at the summer sky,
Bidding the cares and toubles
   And trials of life pass by.
The beautiful locust blossoms
   Are falling about my feet,
And the dreamy air is laden
   With their odors rare and sweet.

The honey-bees hum in the clover,
   The grasses rise and fall,
The robin stops and listens,
   As he hears the brown thrush call.
The humming-bird sings to me softly,
   The butterfly flits away--
Oh what could be sweeter than living,
   This beautiful summer day!


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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