A poem by Susan Coolidge

In the long, bright summer, dear to bird and bee,
When the woods are standing in liveries green and gay,
Merry little voices sound from every tree,
And they whisper secrets all the day.

If we knew the language, we should hear strange things;
Mrs. Chirry, Mrs. Flurry, deep in private chat.
"How are all your nestlings, dear? Do they use their wings?
What was that sad tale about a cat?"

"Where is your new cottage?" "Hush! I pray you, hush".
Please speak very softly, dear, and make no noise.
It is on the lowest bough of the lilac bush.
And I am so dreadfully afraid of boys.

"Mr. Chirry chose the spot, without consulting me;
Such a very public place, and insecure for it,
I can scarcely sleep at night for nervousness; but he
Says I am a silly thing and doesn't mind a bit."

"So the Bluebirds have contracted, have they, for a house?
And a nest is under way for little Mr. Wren?
Hush, dear, hush! Be quiet, dear; quiet as a mouse.
These are weighty secrets, and we must whisper them."

Close the downy dowagers nestle on the bough
While the timorous voices soften low with dread,
And we, walking underneath, little reckon their
Mysteries are couching in the tree-tops overhead.

Ah, the pretty whisperers! It was very well
When the leaves were thick and green, awhile ago--
Leaves are secret-keepers; but since the last leaf fell
There is nothing hidden from the eyes below.

Bared are the brown tenements, and all the world may see
What Mrs. Chirry, Mrs. Flurry, hid so close that day.
In the place of rustling wings, cold winds rustling be,
And thickly lie the icicles where once the warm brood lay.

Shall we tease the birdies, when they come back in spring,--
Tease and tell them we have fathomed all their secrets small,
Every secret hiding-place and dear and precious, thing,
Which they left behind the leaves, the red leaves, in the fall?

They would only laugh at us and wink their saucy eyes,
And answer, "Last year's secrets are all past and told.
New years bring new happenings and fresh mysteries,
You are very welcome to the stale ones of the old!"

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