by Chelsea Burden
I saw him on a swaying branch,
And heard him through the frosty air,
Delighting in his child-like mirth,
That cheerful bird without a care.
He hopped, and chirped with playful glee,
The happy, humble chickadee!
His plump and friendly form and face,
Looked so contented as he played,
Unheeding all that wind and cold,
Should ever make a bird afraid!
He seemed to find his joy and rest,
Complete within his winter nest.
And as he sang his cheery song,
His friends awakened to the note;
That joyous tune of banished care
Arose from ev’ry feathered throat,
And in the bush beside the wall,
I watched them hop, and chirp and call.
I watched, and thought how nice it was,
That in the winter’s still delight,
A note of praise should yet arise
From all the silent meadows white.
Such unpretending, humble song,
To cheer the world the winter long.
O, cheerful folk to have such pluck
To stay when other birds are flown,
Upon the icy branch to climb,
A frosty and majestic throne!
And through the cold their song to sing,
The joyous minstrels of the King!
Not pretty birds with thrush-like song,
Who gain our eye and ear with ease,
Whose form and hues are bright and fair,
And notes are music made to please;
Yet in my bush the winter long
They sing their merry playful song!
‘Tis so delicious as I stand
And feel the chilling icy air,
To watch their play and hear their song,
And know their hearts devoid of care!
It seems to make the world bright,
With such a pure and fresh delight.
And somehow, as I think it o’er,
I feel a pang of inward shame,
For have I not more cause than they
My Father’s mercy to proclaim?
And have I not a God to praise,
A King to worship all my days?
O! would that I could be so bright
When frost and wind assail my plan!
That such a brave, contented heart
Were given me and fellow-man!
Then might I sing with purer lays
My Master’s great and worthy praise!
Then might my notes be just as pure,
And might my song be just as free!
A bright reminder in the snow
Of all that has been given me!
Then might I find my joy and rest,
Complete within my winter nest!
And others as they passed that way,
Would stop as I to mark the sight,
And then with braver heart to face,
The trials of their winter’s night!
Thus let my heart, O Saviour, be
As cheerful as my chickadee!
Top photo credit: Bob Hines United States Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Bottom photo credit: Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927) artist, Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899), [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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