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Edward L. (Edward Livermore) Burlingame.

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SKIPPED STITCHES

VERSES

— BY—

ANNA J. GRANNISS

AUTHOR OF THE

''OLD BED CRADLE''

AS SUNG IN

"THE OLD HOMESTEAD."
$rUfnti) (Jrliition.'



KEENE, N. H. :

DARLING & COMPANY, BOOK AND JOB PRINTERS.

1894.



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\^r. 'Iim.



I university!

Vj-IBRARYy



Copyrighted 1893,
by Anna J. Granniss, Plain ville, Conn.



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TO H. E. P.

If I could find in fields or wood, some flower,
Some nameless flow'r, sweeter than all the rest.

Yielding its bloom and fragrance ev^rij hour,
Then^ leaving half its stveetness iinexprest

In its deep chalice, closed in petals white,

Which, at the lightest breath would lean apart,

And so disclose a glowing roseate light.

Some lovely thing had kindled at its heart ;

If I could find such fiow'r, in field, or wood,
While yet its petals hung with early deiv,

Fd pluck it up, and name it Gratitude,
And make all haste to offer it to you.



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TO MY MOTHER

1 LOVINGLY DEDICATK

MY HOME-SONGS

AND SHOULD THIS LITTLE VENTURE FIND ITS WAY TO
ANY OF MY

FELLOW TOILERS

WILL THEY PLEASE ACCEPT A FEW

SKIPPED STITCHES

AS SPECIALLY DEDICATED TO THEM.

A. J. G.



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INDEX.

preutde «j

Set Toil to a Tune 13

Sonus and Bukked Needles 14

The Message 20

Ai'Rii 2*2

A Child Asleep '22

Where the Violets (iRow 24

My Guest .* 20

Her Dom in I on 28

To My Mother 30

The Old Ked Cradle 31

An Occultation • 32

The Massacre of the Koses .' 34

Fragments •^o

The Aged Ones 30

The Lost Jewei>; 37

The Book with the Quaint Red Leather Covers 39

Two Rooms 40

The Death of the Leavks 41

A Part in the Plan 4;!

What Is the Wonder? 14

RfiSTlNG IN THE ()LI> ARM CHAIR 4(1

The Saints' Messen(;er 4S

A Cradle Son(j 49

Keit •)0

Tt» A Cactus Bloom 52

An Old Tree's SouLoyuv ;y2

To M y Cx>mr a des .V)



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The sun coines up, and the day is crowned
With its face turned toward the west ;

And all day long in the mill is found
The bustle of toil's unrest.

The steam sings out to the silent steel,

Till pulley and shaft reply ;
The thread unwinds from its mimic reel,

And slips through the needle's eye.

Click, click, and over the long white track.

The stitches begin to go
Like tiny steps where none turn back

In crossing a field of snow.

"Or whether the softest south winds blow,
Or the north grows dark with fears,

While the changing seasons come and go,
I'm stitching away the years.

And the great world never asks, or cares.
What may go in with the seams ;

Whether bits of song, or broken prayers,
Or only a toiler's dreams.



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10 PKELUDK.

But something born of the toil and grind,
Keeps pleading to be confessed ;

It cries from its cradle in the mind,
And it will not let me rest.

And so, when the days and seams are long,
When the pulleys creak and moan,

I just skip a stitch and sing a song.
But the world has never known

That it soothes the ache of hurts and wrongs ;

That brighter the needle gleams.
In threading life through the simple songs.

That go tucked away in seams.

But the seams grow frayed, and old, and worn.

And the little songs fall out ;
They know they are ill-clad waifs forlorn

That nobody cares about.

And they bring me little good or gain.

In their ragged bits of rhyme.
Save, as they sing amid toil and pain.

Of the rest in *'aftertime " ;

When toil is done, and the day kneels down
With its worn face turned away.

While cool hands take off its fevered crown.
And slip on its robe of gray.

Then, up and down thro' the busy mill,

Its swift wheels begin to slow,
And tlie loud pulse of tlie steam grows still

In the engine-roum below.



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PRELUDE. 11

And the old bell, waiting in its tower

For pulley and shaft to cease,
Rings the first stroke of the closing hour.

For the toiling hands' release.

And then, from the great deserted rooms.

The grim shadows chase the light ;
The dim corners quickly fill with glooms,

And the mill " shuts down" for night.

For night — when over these long white seams.

The darkness at last shall fall,
The night will find, for one toiler's dreams,

Skipped stitches^ and that is all.



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Sl^IPPED S^I^GHES.

SET TOIL TO A TUNE.

Set your toil to a tune, aye, a happy tune,

And sing as you hoe, my laddie ;
Set your toil to a tune, as sweet as the June,
And sing as you sew, my lassie.

For toil is pleasure,

When set to measure
Of mystical rhythms and runes.

And common-place toil

On fahric or soil,
Can he set to a thousand tunes.

Set tunes to the stitches, and sing as you sew.

Aye, sing while tlie lads, fair lassies.
Set tunes to the furrows and sing as they h(»e,-
Songs lie asleep in the grasses !
For the heart that sings^
Hours fly on swift wings
Of mystical rune and rhytlim,
And carry tlie tunes
Of a year of Junes,
And the ghul heart of the toiler witli Vm.



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14 SONGS AND BURRED NEEDLES.



SONGS AND BURRED NEEDLES.
Song.
We count it a pleasure to earn our bread I
First the leaves are green, then yellow and red —
By our daily toil we are housed and fed,
From the leaf in bud, till the leaves are shed ;
The thread keeps winding off from its reel,
If it's smooth and strong then all goes ''weel",
But a knot stops close to the needle's eye,
It's a little thing, but it can't go by —
A dry leaf clicks at the window-pane.
We clip the knot and thread up again ;
Yes, we like the taste of our hard-earned bread.
Let the leaves be green, or yellow and red.
Or the trees quite bare, with the last leaf shed.

Needle No. 1.
That cricket's singing almost frenzies me ;

For half an hour it's piped the self-same strain ;
The worst it used to do was make me sad.

But now, it's driving needles thro' my brain.

You know the cricket rarely sings till fall.

By that I know the summer's almost dead,
And yet, I've barely had two buttercups —

No wonder, then, its singing hurts my head.



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SONGS AND Bl RRED NEEDLES. 15

I used to love the crickets when a child,

The dear brown hoppers, but I then hopped, too.

And had my share of summer buttercups,
And ev'ry other wild flower, that I knew.

I find the same thinj^s have a difference

When heard, or felt, at widely different times —

I used to call just jinjjles poetry.

But I know better now, and call them rhymes.

I used to think that heaven would tire me out
With endlessness — I hope I've been forgiven.

For now, indeed, I find I've grown so tired.
My sweetest hope is that hmg rest in heaven.

Diverted by the years, all former things

Find newer meanings or become estranged ;

By this I know my soul has not stood still,
In that my old ideals have been changed.

Song.
We are the toilers who earn their rest ;

Oh, the year is growing old !
The sun is setting far southwest ;

Oh, the winds are growing bold !
The winter is long and hard at best ;
Oh, the winter is hard and cold !
And what shall we do when cold weather comes?
And what shall we do to warm our poor homes ?
If the threjid will slip thro' the needle's eye,
Let cold weather come, for warmth we can buy.



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1(> SONGS AND BITRRHI) NEEDLES.

We'll list the windows, and list the doors ;
We'll lay bright rugs on the kitchen floors ;

Sing, needle, click and sing,
The coldest winter must yield to spring !

Needle No. 2.
A child is sobbing somewhere up the street,

Its sense of justice wronged, it wails and cries ;
The dear Lord only knows how it may weep

From keener sense of wrong, before it dies.

Poor little waif ! I'd love to take him up
And comfort him, and kiss away his hurts ;

His mother has to earn her bread and his,
By making other children bibs and skirts.

He has to get along as best he can ;

Brave baby soul, he never asked to come —
He may be one of heaven's own astray —

The infant Christ was born without a home.

I wonder if such childhood makes the man
More truly just, more pitifully kind

To little fellows crying on the street
Because they've been left out, or left behind.

Or if instead, he turns against the world.
Ignoring all it gives of later good.

And, by supreme indifference, thinks to
Revenge his own neglected babyhood.



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songs and burred needles. 17

Song.
Oh, we are of those who toil and trust,
Others may, too, but the toiler must ;
God has not gone to some distant star,
He's in the mills where the toilers are.
We know he smiles on us every one,
For the sake of Christ, the carpenter's son ;
None other could hear in the noisy mill.
But " God hears a thought," and heaven grows still
' While he measures the tears and counts the sighs
Of the anxious hearts lifting up their cries —
Oh ! what shall we do when our loved ones fail ?
Oh I what shall we do when their cheeks grow pale ?
And how shall we buy them fresh fruits and flowers,
If we 'tend to their wants in the working hours ?
But how can we leave them sick and alone ?

Oh, how we toilers do love our own !

All we can do is to toil and trust.

Others may, too, but the toiler must ;

And God remembers, and He is just.

Needle No. 3.
Great men have lived and died, before. to-day.

Leaving the lore their minds had bred and nurst ;
But babes cannot begin where they left otf.

They have to lisp, and learn their letters first.

One man invents a thing, and puts it by.
And dies before he brings it to the test ;

Another finds it good, but incomplete,

Improves upon't, then he, too, goes to rest.



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18 SONGS AND BURRED NEEDLES.

For some are blind in this, some lame in that,
It keeps the world from getting on too fast,

And wins the Present's due acknowledgment
For all it owes the venerable Past.

Indeed it ought to stimulate the man
To do some worthy work to leave behind

With this gray-headed banker of the world,
Where ev'ry man's a debtor to his kind.

'Tis strange to think of time so far remote
There was no reverend Past to draw upon ;

But then God was, He is, and He will be
God (»f the great world's night-fall, as its dawn.

Song.
Oh I the wearisome week ! How slow it wears !
The days are so long and so full of cares,
There is hardly time for our hurried prayers.
But God hears those,
And only He knows

Just how much it means to stop and pray,

At either end of the toiler's day ;
It's dark in the morning ; it's dark at night ;
How do our homes look in the broad day light ?
Are the little ones' faces sad or bright ?
Had we noticed the mother's hair was white ?
The needles buzz in monotonous hum ; —
Oh ! the first bell-stroke, will it ever come ?

It's getting dark, and it's hard to see,

And I know my own are needing me.



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SONGS AND BURRED NEEDLES. 19

The great wheels throb, and the pulleys srroan,
Till they seem to sound like a human moan,
And the heart stands still with a sudden fear.
Oh, how is it hearts beat, year after year?
Ah ! this is too dreary a song I know.
But this is sometimes — 'tis not always so.

Needle No. 4.
I hear the turtle singing in the land !

The longest woe or winter wears away ;
And I at last have come to understand.

That life is better, taken day by day.

If we recall the past, and wail and cry
Over lost joys, or some remembered pain.

The present, needs must weep in sympathy.
And so lose all its joy, and nothing gain.

While if the future we would penetrate.
And sit and wonder what the end will be.

It's more than likely we shall 'rise to find
Our chances of success in jeopardy.

So life is better taken day by day.

Moment by moment rather, from God's hand.
The wilderness is traversed step by step,
By those who would go up and take tlie land.

Digitized by V^OOQIC



20 THE MESSAGE.



THE MESSAGE.

I sent it far out on the midnight air;
A great voiceless wish, an unspoken prayer.
I know what I said wlien I sent it out,
As I watched it hover and beat about.

And then cross the dark mountain toward the sea —
"Oh, sometime my wish will be granted me,
And sometime my prayer will be answered me,

From over the mountain and over the sea" !

And I told the spirit of air and wind
To carry my message, to seek and find
Its answer, then over the mountain's track
Come swiftly, and bear me the answer back.

And I had sweet dreams, sweet as dreams could l)e.
Of my voiceless prayer being answered me.
Of my one wild wish being granted me,

From over the mountain and over the sea.

I opened the window at dead of night ;

All the ground with winter's snow lay white —

Had I slept in the lap of bygone springs ?

Did I dream of tlie beat of rapid wings ?
O, my friend, the one prayer I breathed out to thee,

Is its answer winging its way to me ?

Is it bringing pardon and peace to me
From over the mount:iin and over the sea *.'



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THE MKSSAGE. 21

It was iiij^lit, and the j^round lay white with snow,
And the last bird had vanished months ago,
But straight from the way where the day-star springs,
Through the still night air came the rush of wings ;

And a bird, unknown on tliis side of the sea.
Fluttered in on weary white wings to me.
A living message of peace for me,

From over the mountain and over the sea.

The wish I sent out on the midnight air,
The message I breathed in that voiceless prayer,
Was the anguished burden, "Forgive ! Forgive !
Oh, my wronged friend, if thou still dost live !"

Did tlie waves of the night air carry my plea ?
Did the unknown bird bear fast and free
His answer of pardon and peace to me,

From over the moimtain and over the sea ?

The feverish dream of a burdened mind ? —
An invisible waif of the winter's wind? —
Ah — the open sash in that morning's chill ;
And the strange bird dead on the window-sill —

With the sweet, sudden sense of a mind set free,

. Were pledges my sin was forgiven me.
Strange tokens of pardon and peace to me.

From over the mountain and over the sea.

News of death came from an Eastern land.
With these words, writ by a comrade's hand :
"At the hour of midnight the message came.
' 1 forgive,' he said, then breathed your name.



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22 APRIL. A CHILD ASLEEP.

And died." Oh, is the soul both sides of the sea ?

What was the white wonder that came to me ?

Had his spirit crossed over to answer me,
Ere its last long flight above mount and sea ?

APRIL

April laughed, and threw a kiss ;
Then afraid it seemed amiss,
Quick she dropped a shining tekr.
And it straightway blossomed here ;
Seeing this, she then threw more,
Crying harder than before —
A tear for ev'ry kiss she threw ;
From ev'ry tear a blossom grew,
Till she laughing, ran away.
And left her flowers all to May.

A CHILD ASLEEP.

A sinner sat in the room at night

Where a sweet child lay asleep.
And strange tears came to the weary eyes,

That had been unused to weep ;
The mind went back to another time.

When she lay her childish head.
Aye, in just such happy innocence

On her own low ti'undle bed.



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A ( HILD ASLEEP. 23

She seemed to feel the good-night kiss,

The hand upon hrow and hair,
And she heard her mother's gentle tones,

With her own voice lisping prayer ;
Then the fountain of her heart o'erflowed,

And swept through those evil years,
ITntil all their bitter wrong and sin

Dissolved in repentant tears.

She knelt and prayed — glad angelic hands

Once anew their harp strings sweep ;
Babes may hear such music in their dreams,

For the child smiled in her sleep.
Then a holy Presence filled the room.

And breathed low the word " Forgiven " !
But the sinner heard, and lifted up

Her face toward God and heaven.

The redeeming miracle was wrought !

Then the still night wore away.
And a beautiful new soul beheld

In the east the bretiking day.
What the song and sermon had not done,

For the sick soul sin-defiled,
God's spirit did in the silent room,

By means of a sleeping child.



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24 AVllEKE THE VIOLETS GROW.



WHERE THE VIOLETS GROW.

I know a place where the violets grow,

As blue as the summer sky,
And I'll tell you if you care to know,

For you would not pass them by.

You remember where the lilies grow
With the delicate meadow-rue ?

It's early now, but before you know
They will ring their bells for you :

Well, that is the lot you have to cross.
Then follow the old stone wall ;

It's nearly covered with speckled moss,
There, under the button-ball.

And it's there two tiny pathways meet —
One leads to — I don't know where ;

The other will choke with meadow-sweet.
In the hot mid-summer air.

But take it now, and follow the brOok,

As it runs along the ridge ;
You'll notice some cresses in a nook

(Growing somewhere, near the bridge.



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WHERE THE VIOLETS GROW. 25

And then come the pussy-willow trees,

Where the boughs bend over so,
They dip tlie water, then lift again,

Whenever the light winds blow.

Farther on, the brook bends suddenly,

With a gurgling mur-m-u-r-r-um.
As if it were turning back to see

Why the willows did not come.

But the violets ? Where do they gi'ow ?

Stop at the bend of the brook.
Shut your eyes and take three steps or so,

Then open them wide, and look.

There they are — blue, yes, blue as the sky

When deepest in love with June ;
When all nature sets her melody

To the rarest of sweet tune.

Why, they seem to make the very air

A violet-colored mist.
And you'll almost think as you stand there,

That the earth and sky have kissed.

Wlien I came upon them in the dew,

I think in my fii*st surprise,
I thought that a bit of heaven's own blue

Had fallen before my eyes.

I found them day before yesterday,

When out for a tramp — and oh,
It is lovely all along the way

To where the violets grow.



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20 MY OTEST.



MY GUEST.

The day is fixed that there shall come to me

A strange mysterious guent ;
Tlie time I do not know, he keeps the date^
So all I have to do is work and wait,

And keep me at my best.
And do my common duties patiently.

I've often wondered if that day wc^ld break

Brighter than other days
That I might know, or wi-apped in some strange gloom.
And if he'd find me waiting in my room,

Or busy with life's ways,
With tired hands, and weary eyes that ache.

For many years I've known that he would come.

And so have watched for him ;
And sometimes even said "^ He will come soon ! "
Yet mornings pass followed by afternoon.

With twilights dusk and dim,
And silent night-times, when the world is dumb.

But he will come, and find me here or there,

It does not matter when.
For when he comes, I know that he will take
In his, these very hands of mine that ache,

(They will be idle then,)
Just folded may be, with a silent prayer.



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MY GUEST, 27

Yes, he whom I expect has been called Death,

And once he is my guest,
Nothing disturbs of what has been, or is ;
I'll leave the world's loud company, for his,

As that which seemeih best,
And none may hear the tender words he saith

As we pass out, my royal guest and I,

As noiseless as he came ;
For naught will do, but I must go with him
And leave the house I've lived in closed and dim.

It only bears my name,
I've known I should not need it, by and by.

And so I sleep and wake, I toil and rest,

Knowing when he shall come.
My Elder Brother will have sent for me,
Bidding him say, that they especially

Have need of me at home.
And so, I shall go gladly with my guest.



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28 IIEK DO MI NIC) X.



HER DOMINION.

She never sat upon a throne

With a scepter in her hand,
And never to my knowledge

Has she Owned a foot of land ;
But I've often sat and watched her

Through the tidy window screen.
And I know in her dominion,

She's a veritable queen.

Who ? why, my little neighbor

With the gingham apron on,
Or a bit of fluted muslin

When the morning's work is done.
Yes ; she rents a tidy cottage

Right here across the street,
Where she keeps the windows shining

And the door-yard fresh and neat.

All the walk is gaily bordered

With petunias and phlox,
And the door is always opened

For every one who knocks.
Where, unless she is preceded

By a little laughing elf,
With sweet, unconscious dignity,

She waits on the door herself.



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IlKIl DOMINION. 29

Her subjects ? why, lier cliildren,

Just as loyal ak can lie,
And the way they wait upon her

Is quite beautiful to see ;
While she keeps them glad and happy

With the smile upon her face,
And teaches them sweet manners,

By her (»wn habitual f]:race.

There's a handsome, manly fellow

(xoes off early in the day,
Coming back again, a« daylight

Just begins to fade away;
He's gallant as he is handsome —

Could a sovereign ask for more.
Than the homage which he pays her,

When she meets him at the door ?

Why, her home \^ her dominion !

Home where love is all the law ;
Where no hai-shly uttered mandate

Her wee subjects over-awe.
But I'm talking of my neighbors,

I'm ashamed as I can be,
I've been peeping through my shutters,

And they've just sat down to tea.

Pcan hear their cheerful chatter.

With soft laughter now and then,


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