Toyland

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I.

There's a story no one knows,
But myself, about a rose
And a fairy and a star
Where the Toyland people are.
Once when I had gone to bed,
Mother said it was a dream,
From a rose above my head,
Growing by the window-beam,
Out there popped a fairy's head.

II.

And he nodded at me: smiled:
Said, "You're fond of stories, eh?
Well, I know a star each child
Ought to know. It's far away
Foryour kind, but not for me.
I will take you to that star,
Where you'll hear new stories; see?
Close your eyes. It is n't far
That is, 't is n't far for me."

III.

And he'd hardly spoken when
From the rose there came a moth;
And before you'd counted ten
We were on it, and were both
Flying to that star that made
Silver sparkles in the air.
And, though I was not afraid,
I was glad when we were there,
And the moth was stabled white
In a lily-bud, and we
Went to find the fay or sprite
Who, he said, would welcome me.

IV.

And we found her.'T was n't long
Till we heard a twittering song,
And a toy-bird with white eyes
Flew before us from the skies,
Like those in my Noah's Ark,
And we followed it; and came
To the strangest land: our park
Is just like it, just the same.
Toy-trees, squirrels, birds and brooks,
And a castle on the hill,
Just like those in story-books;
And upon its windowsill
Leaned a lovely Princess. She
Smiled at me, and that was all,
As a doll smiles; and to me
She was like a great big doll.

V.

Then, before I knew it, I
Was inside her palace, there
In the room; and everywhere
Dolls and story-books and, my!
All the dolls began to sing
Rhymes, or read; and others told
Stories just like everything:
Better stories than the old
Ones my father reads me in
Mother Goose and books like Grimm,
That he hates so to begin:
Tales for which I bother him,
Since, he says, both tales and rhymes
He has read a thousand times.

VI.

Blue Beard and the Yellow Dwarf,
And the lovely Rapunzel,
She whose hair was once a scarf
For a prince to climb by; Nell,
Little Nell, or else her twin,
Who, somehow, had happened in,
And the Sleeping Beauty, who
Seemed asleep and sat there dumb;
Hansel and sweet Grethel too,
Snow-Drop and Hop-o'-my-Thumb;
Rumpelstiltzkin, Riding Hood,
And the Babes-lost-in-the-Wood,
Met around a little table,
Where I sat beside a Queen,
Queen of Hearts, and, dressed in green,
Robin Hood, a-eating tarts,
While old Æsop told a fable,
Sitting by the King of Hearts.

VII.

And the waiters were Bo Peep,
Knave of Hearts and Marjory Daw;
Boy Blue, slow as if asleep,
And the Woman who slept on Straw.
And the little dishes all,
Though they seemed so, were not small;
Painted blue and green and gold
With the stories I'd heard told,
Pictures forming of themselves,
Of the Elf Queen and the Elves.
Never, never have I seen
Service like it. Then the talk!
All about the Fairy Queen
And the Land of Tarts and Pies,
Where those three fat brothers go,
Greedygut, with tiny eyes
Like a pig's; and Sleepyhead,
With his candle, going to bed;
And old creepy-footed Slow.
Of these three they made great talk,
And that Land where Scarecrows stalk,
And the Jack-o'-Lanterns grow,
Row on glaring goblin row.

VIII.

Suddenly, among them there,
At my back, above my chair,
Cried a Cuckoo Clock, and why!
There I was back home; and I
Was n't nowhere but in bed
And my mother standing by
Smiling at me. I could cry
When I think the things they said
That I can'tremember now
Though I try and try and try.
But I knowthis anyhow:
I was in that star, I know,
And in Toyland. Does n't seem
Anything but true, although
Mother says it was a dream.

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