Amy Lowell
Amy Lowell (1874 - 1925)
American poetess

Verses for Children

Sea Shell

Sea Shell, Sea Shell, 
  Sing me a song, O Please! 
A song of ships, and sailor men, 
  And parrots, and tropical trees, 

Of islands lost in the Spanish Main 
Which no man ever may find again, 
Of fishes and corals under the waves, 
And seahorses stabled in great green caves. 

Sea Shell, Sea Shell, 
Sing of the things you know so well.

Fringed Gentians

Near where I live there is a lake 
As blue as blue can be, winds make 
It dance as they go blowing by. 
I think it curtseys to the sky. 

It's just a lake of lovely flowers 
And my Mamma says they are ours; 
But they are not like those we grow 
To be our very own, you know. 

We have a splendid garden, there 
Are lots of flowers everywhere; 
Roses, and pinks, and four o'clocks 
And hollyhocks, and evening stocks. 

Mamma lets us pick them, but never 
Must we pick any gentians -- ever! 
For if we carried them away 
They'd die of homesickness that day. 

The Painted Ceiling

My Grandpapa lives in a wonderful house 
With a great many windows and doors, 
There are stairs that go up, and stairs that go down, 
And such beautiful, slippery floors. 

But of all of the rooms, even mother's and mine, 
And the bookroom, and parlour and all, 
I like the green dining-room so much the best 
Because of its ceiling and wall. 

Right over your head is a funny round hole 
With apples and pears falling through; 
There's a big bunch of grapes all purply and sweet, 
And melons and pineapples too. 

They tumble and tumble, but never come down 
Though I've stood underneath a long while 
With my mouth open wide, for I always have hoped 
Just a cherry would drop from the pile. 

No matter how early I run there to look 
It has always begun to fall through; 
And one night when at bedtime I crept in to see, 
It was falling by candle-light too. 

I am sure they are magical fruits, and each one 
Makes you hear things, or see things, or go 
Forever invisible; but it's no use, 
And of course I shall just never know. 

For the ladder's too heavy to lift, and the chairs 
Are not nearly so tall as I need. 
I've given up hope, and I feel I shall die 
Without having accomplished the deed. 

It's a little bit sad, when you seem very near 
To adventures and things of that sort, 
Which nearly begin, and then don't; and you know 
It is only because you are short. 

The Crescent Moon

Slipping softly through the sky 
Little horned, happy moon, 
Can you hear me up so high? 
Will you come down soon? 

On my nursery window-sill 
Will you stay your steady flight? 
And then float away with me 
Through the summer night? 

Brushing over tops of trees, 
Playing hide and seek with stars, 
Peeping up through shiny clouds 
At Jupiter or Mars. 

I shall fill my lap with roses 
Gathered in the milky way, 
All to carry home to mother. 
Oh! what will she say! 

Little rocking, sailing moon, 
Do you hear me shout -- Ahoy! 
Just a little nearer, moon, 
To please a little boy.


High up in the apple tree climbing I go, 
With the sky above me, the earth below. 
Each branch is the step of a wonderful stair 
Which leads to the town I see shining up there. 

Climbing, climbing, higher and higher, 
The branches blow and I see a spire, 
The gleam of a turret, the glint of a dome, 
All sparkling and bright, like white sea foam. 

On and on, from bough to bough, 
The leaves are thick, but I push my way through; 
Before, I have always had to stop, 
But to-day I am sure I shall reach the top. 

Today to the end of the marvelous stair, 
Where those glittering pinacles flash in the air! 
Climbing, climbing, higher I go, 
With the sky close above me, the earth far below.

The Trout

Naughty little speckled trout, 
Can't I coax you to come out? 
Is it such great fun to play 
In the water every day? 

Do you pull the Naiads' hair 
Hiding in the lilies there? 
Do you hunt for fishes' eggs, 
Or watch tadpoles grow their legs? 

Do the little trouts have school 
In some deep sun-glinted pool, 
And in recess play at tag 
Round that bed of purple flag? 

I have tried so hard to catch you, 
Hours and hours I've sat to watch you; 
But you never will come out, 
Naughty little speckled trout!


He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea, 
He steals the down from the honeybee, 
He makes the forest trees rustle and sing, 
He twirls my kite till it breaks its string. 
   Laughing, dancing, sunny wind, 
   Whistling, howling, rainy wind, 
   North, South, East and West, 
   Each is the wind I like the best. 
He calls up the fog and hides the hills, 
He whirls the wings of the great windmills, 
The weathercocks love him and turn to discover 
His whereabouts -- but he's gone, the rover! 
   Laughing, dancing, sunny wind, 
   Whistling, howling, rainy wind, 
   North, South, East and West, 
   Each is the wind I like the best. 

The pine trees toss him their cones with glee, 
The flowers bend low in courtesy, 
Each wave flings up a shower of pearls, 
The flag in front of the school unfurls. 
   Laughing, dancing, sunny wind, 
   Whistling, howling, rainy wind, 
   North, South, East and West, 
   Each is the wind I like the best.

The Pleiades

By day you cannot see the sky 
For it is up so very high. 
You look and look, but it's so blue 
That you can never see right through. 

But when night comes it is quite plain, 
And all the stars are there again. 
They seem just like old friends to me, 
I've known them all my life you see. 

There is the dipper first, and there 
Is Cassiopeia in her chair, 
Orion's belt, the Milky Way, 
And lots I know but cannot say. 

One group looks like a swarm of bees, 
Papa says they're the Pleiades; 
But I think they must be the toy 
Of some nice little angel boy. 

Perhaps his jackstones which to-day 
He has forgot to put away, 
And left them lying on the sky 
Where he will find them bye and bye. 

I wish he'd come and play with me. 
We'd have such fun, for it would be 
A most unusual thing for boys 
To feel that they had stars for toys!

Amy Lowell - Homepage

Amy Lowell (Lyrical Poems)

Amy Lowell (Sonnets)

Amy Lowell (The Boston Athenaeum)

Amy Lowell (Figurines in old Saxe)

Amy Lowell (Love-poems)

Amy Lowell (Liefdesgedichten)
In het Nederlands

Dead Poetesses Society


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© Gaston D'Haese: 06-01-2004.
Update: 22-03-2016.