Saturday, February 1, 2014

Winter Sleep by Elinor Wylie and Brambly Hedge by Jill Barkley

Winter Sleep by Elinor Wylie

When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:
They chase the sun, they follow the heat,
It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's not with them that I'd love to be,
But under the roots of the balsam tree.

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf, heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.

O what a warm and darksome nest
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest!
It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep,
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!
               ~    ~    ~   ~   ~

Brambly Hedge by Jill Barkley

The above poem by Elinor Wylie made me think about the Brambly Hedge series of children's books  I fell in love with when my children were very young. The books were written and illustrated by Jill Barkley starting in 1980 and were a series about a community of mice who lived exceptionally well out of sight of humans and preying animals. My kids and I could spend hours engrossed just in the illustrations of these beautifully detailed little books.

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