Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SPINNING-WHEEL (YONDERLAND SONG), by LYA BERGER



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THE SPINNING-WHEEL (YONDERLAND SONG), by            
First Line: Children, children, where is it now?
Last Line: In glory glow on strasbourg's towers.
Subject(s): Children; Spinning; Childhood


I

CHILDREN, Children, where is it now?
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
The hemp field yielded reel on reel
Of flaxen joy for the homestead's weal;
And snowy white was the distaff's brow.
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

There she sat on the oaken stool,
With head bent low from morn till eve
And, boisterous elves, we tugged her sleeve
While the bobbin grew to a snowy spool ...
Only the Bible lying there
Her sterling faith and love can tell.
Where is the sleepless sentinel
Who of the past alone is 'ware?

Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

Ours the shame if we cannot keep
The hope enshrined in her spinning-wheel.
Ours the bane if we lull to sleep
Her courage stedfast as tempered steel.
More precious than gems of chevaliers,
Which, through our dreams as shadows pass,
Shall rise triumphant o'er Care's morass
And wake from slumber our soul's Alsace
In bosoms dank with exiles' tears.

II

Children, Children, where is it now?
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
The hemp field yielded reel on reel
Of flaxen joy for the homestead's weal;
And snowy white was the distaff's brow.
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

On happy, tingling nights of Yule,
When young and eld sat round the fire,
Its murmurs were a joyous choir
Of vespers sweet and beautiful.
The children sang, with cheeks aglow,
And to its joy gave utterance
With rolling ballad or romance
Of Alsace of the long ago.

Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

Yea, still the spinning-wheel sings on,
For 'tis our Grandam's spinning-wheel;
And haply it shall sing anon
If still a Frenchman's heart can feel,
When Liberty shall pour the wine
To flood our veins with fiery spate
And fill the flagon of our hate
For that which rendered desolate
Our home beside the leaping Rhine.

III

Children, Children, where is it now?
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
The hemp field yielded reel on reel
Of flaxen joy for the homestead's weal;
And snowy white was the distaff's brow.
Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

In weft and woof its shining wheel
Has wrought for us continually:
Fine linen laps sought oversea,
White witnesses to burning zeal.
'Tis worth ten lofty looms alone.
Bring from the alcove's dark recess
The swaddling clothes, the wedding dress,
And from the grave the cerements sewn.

Where is your Grandam's spinning-wheel?
Children, Children, where is it now?

The spinning-wheel sleeps not in dust;
It has become the loom of Fate.
Our destinies in holy trust
It guards for us the while we wait;
And on that day that shall be ours
The twilight's toil to God shall soar
From distaffs stalwart as of yore,
When oriflammes our fathers bore
In glory glow on Strasbourg's towers.





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