Songs For Fragoletta

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne


Fragoletta, blessed one,
What think you of the light of the sun?
Do you think the dark was best,
Lying snug in mother's breast?
Ah! I knew that sweetness, too,
Fragoletta, before you!
But, Fragoletta, now you're born,
You must learn to love the morn,
Love the lovely working light,
Love the miracle of sight,
Love the thousand things to do -
Little girl, I envy you! -
Love the thousand things to see,
Love your mother, and - love me!
And some night, Fragoletta, soon,
I'll take you out to see the moon;
And for the first time, child of ours,
You shall - think of it! - look on flowers,
And smell them, too, if you are good,
And hear the green leaves in the wood
Talking, talking, all together
In the happy windy weather;
And if the journey's not too far
For little limbs so lately made,
Limb upon limb like petals laid,
We'll go and picnic in a star.


Blue eyes looking up at me,
I wonder what you really see,
Lying in your cradle there,
Fragrant as a branch of myrrh.
Helpless little hands and feet,
O so helpless! O so sweet!
Tiny tongue that cannot talk,
Tiny feet that cannot walk,
Nothing of you that can do
Aught, except those eyes of blue.
How they open, how they close!
Eyelids of the baby-rose,
Open and shut, so blue, so wise,
Baby-eyelids, baby-eyes.


That, Fragoletta, is the rain
Beating upon the window-pane;
But lo! the golden sun appears,
To kiss away the window's tears.
That, Fragoletta, is the wind
That rattles so the window-blind;
And yonder shining thing's a star,
Blue eyes, - you seem ten times as far.
That, Fragoletta, is a bird
That speaks, yet never says a word;
Upon a cherry-tree it sings,
Simple as all mysterious things;
Its little life to peck and pipe
As long as cherries ripe and ripe,
And minister unto the need
Of baby-birds that feed and feed.
This, Fragoletta, is a flower,
Open and fragrant for an hour,
A flower, a transitory thing,
Each petal fleeting as a wing,
All a May morning blows and blows,
And then for everlasting goes.


Blue eyes, against the whiteness pressed
Of little mother's hallowed breast,
The while your trembling lips are fed,
Look up at mother's bended head,
All benediction over you -
blue eyes looking into blue!
Fragoletta is so small,
We wonder that she lives at all -
Tiny alabaster girl,
Hardly bigger than a pearl;
That is why we take such care,
Lest someone runs away with her.

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