Making Poetry.

Little one, what are you doing,1
Sitting on the window-seat ?2
Laughing to yourself, and writing,3
Some right merry thought inditing,4
Balancing with swinging feet.5
’Tis some poetry I’m making,6
Though I never tried before :7
Four whole lines !  I’ll read them to you.8
Do you think them funny, do you ?9
Shall I try to make some more ?10
I should like to be a poet,11
Writing verses every day ;12
Then to you I’d always bring them,13
You should make a tune and sing them ;14
’Twould be pleasanter than play.”15
A woman sits in a rocking chair with an open book on her lap. Her head turns towards her right side as she looks at a boy who sits on a seat below a large window. The boy hunches over the seat and he appears to be writing. The background features a window with visible tree branches, curtains, and a lamp. Full-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.
Think you, darling, nought is needed16
But the paper and the ink,17
And a pen to trace so lightly,18
While the eye is beaming brightly,19
All the pretty things we think ?20
There’s a secret,—can you trust me ?21
Do not ask me what it is !22
Perhaps some day you too will know it,23
If you live to be a poet24
All its agony and bliss.25
Poetry is not a trifle,26
Lightly thought and lightly made ;27
Not a fair and scentless flower,28
Gaily cultured for an hour,29
Then as gaily left to fade.30
’Tis not stringing rhymes together31
In a pleasant true accord ;32
Not the music of the metre,33
Not the happy fancies, sweeter34
Than a flower-bell, honey-stored.35
’Tis the essence of existence,36
Rarely rising to the light ;37
And the songs that echo longest,38
Deepest, fullest, truest, strongest,39
With your life-blood you will write.40
With your life-blood. None will know it,41
You will never tell them how ;42
Smile ! and they will never guess it,43
Laugh ! and you will not confess it44
By your paler cheek and brow.45
There must be the tightest tension46
Ere the tone be full and true ;47
Shallow lakelets of emotion48
Are not like the spirit-ocean,49
Which reflects the purest blue.50
Every lesson you shall utter,51
If the charge indeed be yours,52
First is gained by earnest learning,53
Carved in letters deep and burning54
On a heart that long endures.55
Day by day that wondrous tablet56
Your life-poem shall receive,57
By the hand of Joy or Sorrow ;58
But the pen can never borrow59
Half the records that they leave.60
You will only give a transcript61
Of a life-line here and there,62
Only just a spray-wreath, springing63
From the hidden depths, and flinging64
Broken rainbows on the air.65
Still, if you but copy truly,66
’Twill be poetry indeed,67
Echoing many a heart’s vibration,68
Rather love than admiration69
Earning as your priceless meed.70
Will you seek it ?  Will you brave it ?71
’Tis a strange and solemn thing :72
Learning long, before your teaching,73
Listening long, before your preaching,74
Suffering before you sing.75