Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poetry Treasure for Poetry Friday

      Tabatha Yeatts of The Opposite of Indifference is our wonderful host today on this final Poetry Friday of April. Today not only is Tabatha hosting, but sharing her marvelous poetry collection of imaginary places, from others and her own originals. Be sure to visit her double post today! 

         Considering all the poetry love that's happened and is still happening during April, I thought I'd share a treasure I received from my brother, who owns an antique store, and once in a while finds a book he keeps for me. The Children's Treasury, edited by May Hill is such a book. If you don't know May Hill, she later became May Hill Arbuthnot of the Arbuthnot Anthology and Children and Books, known for dedication all her life to children's literature. These two books above were my textbooks in my Children's lit class in college. 



         The Children's Treasury is just that, a treasure, filled with nursery rhymes, favorite poems from older times, animal stories and myths, short nature studies, and a few dramatizations. Each page is beautifully tinted or in black and white. In poetry, there are poems by Eugene Field, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kate Greenaway, Rose Fyleman, Amy Lowell, and a few anonymous treats. When a poet's name is unfamiliar, I've looked them up, and discovered new treasures. A poet I thought I'd share today is Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate the 1903 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in literature, and several sources named him as one of the four great Norwegian writers.  Because we've all been waiting for spring's wonder this year, Bjørnson's poem, The Tree is a beautiful little story to share. 


The Tree

Ready with leaves and with buds stood the tree.
"Shall I take them?" the frost said, now puffing with glee.
"Oh my, no, let them stand,
Till flowers are at hand!"
All trembling from tree-top to root came the plea.

Flowers unfolding the birds gladly sung.
"Shall I take them?" the wind said and merrily swung.
"Oh my, no, let them stand,
Till cherries are at hand!"
Protested the tree, while it quivering hung.

The cherries came forth 'neath the sun's glowing eye.
"Shall I take them?" a rosy young girl's eager cry.
"Oh my, yes, you can take,
I've kept them for your sake!"
Low bending its branches, the tree brought them nigh. 
Here is the book's cover and two other pages of illustrations:


May Hill writes: "For the children, we hope it will prove a solace on rainy days and an added joy on sunny ones. We hope it may grow to be one of those favorite books, so constantly in use that when other interests call, it remains the top book in the pile. Then it might deserve that delightful title that was once given to Mother Goose in the eighteenth century--"The Top Book of All."
        The book's copyright is 1923.

24 comments:

  1. How lovely the poem! And the book looks very much like a treasure!

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    1. Thank you, Freeda. Happy you enjoyed it. You write poems similar to this one when you write about nature!

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  2. Aren't these art-deco era illustrations gorgeous? I was definitely the kind of kid May Hill was writing about when she said, ""For the children, we hope it will prove a solace on rainy days and an added joy on sunny ones."

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    1. It truly is a beautiful book, Laura. I've read a few of the poems and nature stories to my oldest granddaughter. The book is kind of loosely bound now, so I can't let her have it alone until she's older, but will keep it for her.

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  3. We were given a reprint edition of that book when our kids were young (I think it's the same one--not at home to check--but I recognize the illustrations.) So nice that your brother keeps his eyes open for treasures like that for you!

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    1. How wonderful, Buffy. I didn't see any on Amazon or Abe's Books, but I'll look again. Yes, nice to have someone on the lookout for children's and poetry books.

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  4. Oh, this is gorgeous. What a nice brother. The pictures remind me of my old Wizard of Oz book. I love art deco illustrations.

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    1. You're right. I loved the Wizard of Oz books growing up. Wonder where they went? Thanks Liz.

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  5. The girl in the illustration looks so sweet! There was a cherry tree near my house when I was little, and I seem to remember a good bit more work going into picking the cherries -- I wish its branches has been so accommodating!

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    1. Ha, I know what you mean. I haven't picked cherries in a long while, and nothing from a tree, just strawberries. Fun thought, Tabatha.

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  6. Love the charm of the old books - the whimsical illustrations and the care taken with every aspect. These books were made to last - to be savored and treasured. We are waiting for leaves, Linda - it seems as though they are a long time coming!

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    1. Our leaves have been appearing all week except those that are always late. We have rain/snow in the forecast again, however, another cold front sweeping through. We'll see what happens I guess. Thanks Tara. I love the old books.

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  7. Simply gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this book with its beautiful illustrations and poetry!

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    1. Thanks B.j. I thought everyone would enjoy a peek!

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  8. What a gorgeous book! I love the illustrations, and the language of May Hill's foreword (or whatever it is) takes me to another time. The poem reminds me a bit of some of the poems I read in the more modern book like this I bought from a bargain bin of books at our local Safeway: Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's Traditions.

    Violet N.

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    1. I just looked up Sarah Ban Breathnach's book you mentioned, Violet. It looks wonderful. I know the Simple Abundance books, but have not seen this one. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing bits of the book.

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  9. What a wonderful gift! Thank you for sharing bits with us!

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  10. The illustrations made me gasp out loud - such loving care - exquisite! Truly a valuable gift. I am not aware of this book, I shall hunt for this. :)

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    1. I think it may be available in a re-print-not sure. The illustrations are marvelous! Thanks Myra.

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  11. Fun! I'm not an old book for old books' sake person, but this does indeed look like a treasure:>)

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    1. The treasure is in some of the poems I've never seen, and some early poets I didn't know. Thanks Laura.

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  12. A treasure, indeed, filled with gems like these! Such a beautiful book and a thoughtful brother... both are keepers, I'd say.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. Yes, both are definitely to be kept.

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