All day the trees were moaning,
  For the leaves that they had lost,
All day they creaked and trembled,
  And the naked branches tossed
And shivered in the north wind
  As he hurried up and down,
Over hill-tops bleak and cheerless,
  Over meadows bare and brown.

"Oh my green and tender leaflets.
  Oh my fair buds, lost and gone!"
So they moaned through all the daytime,
  So they groaned till night came on.
And the hoar-frost lurked and listened
  To the wailing, sad refrain,
And he whispered, "wait--be patient--
  I will cover you again;

I will deck you in new garments--
  I will clothe you ere the light,
In a sheen of spotless glory--
  In a robe of purest white.
You shall wear the matchless mantle,
  That the good Frost Fairy weaves."
And the bare trees listened, wondered,
  And forgot their fallen leaves.

And the quaint and silent fairy,
  Backward, forward, through the gloom,
Wove the matchless, glittering mantle,
  Spun the frost-thread on her loom.
And the bare trees talked together,
  Talked in whispers soft and low,
As the good and silent fairy
  Moved her shuttle to and fro.

And, lo! when the golden glory
  Of the morning crept abroad,
All the trees were clothed in grandeur,
  All the twiglets robed, and shod
With matchless, spotless garments,
  That the sunshine decked with gems,
And the trees forgot their sorrow,
  'Neath their robes and diadems.

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

Back to Poem Index