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.
The Firetail Finches
by C J Dennis (1876-1938)
The Singing Garden (1935) p.41.