Gift from a Garden of Verses

“The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1885
from “A Child’s Garden of Verses”

 A scrap of verse, no more than a smile—
and yet it lingers in my mind—
a little girl in a backwoods home
in the autumn of a quiet time

when my grandmother put her chores aside
and dust was allowed to drift in space
and her hair wandered white as birch
and whispered about her face.

When out of an old shoe box she drew
scissors of vintage brass, and shaped
a scrap of cotton, gray as her eyes
or an old pewter plate.

A doll emerged like a gingerbread boy
from my stitches marching along the edge
like soldiers stepping in rhythm to
poems the old woman read.

With cotton batting we stuffed the doll
and then on an army cot I reclined
and the springs creaked and the air was
damp wood and the mildew of time.

Outside there played the sound of doves
and apples dropping on the grass,
and my grandmother fashioned a gift for me
that plain as her grave would last.

And together we were happy as kings
in a world full of immeasurable things.






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