Thursday, May 3, 2012

Daisy from my Mother's Grave

My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Woodward, wrote poems as a girl growing up in Brooklyn. Her ten children left her with little time to write, but some of her childhood verse was published in the New York papers. This poem in memory of her mother she kept to herself. Into this page of her journal she slipped a tiny wild daisy from her mother’s grave in Green-Wood Cemetery.

To a Daisy from my Mother’s Grave, 1852

When hills and meads were brown and bare

And wintry winds swept chilly by

This little daisy blossomed fair

Beneath a cold and foreign sky.

Sweet little flower, it raised its head

Within the Greenwood’s hallowed ground

And smiled above the lovely dead

The last which graced that quiet mound.

In youth the hand of her now cold

Beneath the spot that marked thy smile,

Oft plucked the daisy from the mould

In her and thine own native isle.

Yet like thee from the English shore

Transplanted neath the western sky

She passed away life’s transient hour

Midst peaceful scenes at last to die.

Tis thine to boast no colors gay

Tis thine no stately green to wear

So would affection stoop to pay

A tribute to the one so dear.

I doubly prize the little gem

Since blooming on my mother’s grave

My father snipped thy tender stem

To me this simple flower gave.

Sweet daisy we would learn from thee

To scorn no power that we may hold

The humblest offering that may be

Is oft more dear than gems or gold.