A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields/Promenades et Intérieurs (François Coppée)
PROMENADES ET INTÉRIEURS.
In the eve, by the hearth, how oft in solitude
I have thought of some bird found dead, deep in the wood.
In the winter's rough days, monotonous and sad,
The poor deserted nests, once resonant and glad,
Swing to the biting wind, 'neath a sky iron-grey.
Oh, many the poor birds that must then die away!
But when the spring-time comes, the time of violets,
Their skeletons we meet not to awake our regrets,
Where in April we run, amid grass springing high;
Do the birds hide themselves in some nook ere they die?
The school. The walls white, and the black benches in grade,
Then at Christ in wood carved, that two box branches shade;
The Sister of Mercy, a red rose in a cap,
Keeps the school with her clear eyes, and points to a map.
Some twenty girls lovely of the people sit round,
In their plain simple bonnets. There's a hum of low sound.
Oh, the good Sister! Oh, the sweet patience she shows
Weariness or anger, never, never she knows!
A hundred times over she repeats the same thing,
And her brow remains cloudless, her voice keeps its ring;
Nor cares she to note on the benches first ranged,
Where the youngest have seats, stealthy glances exchanged;
For there marches on paper spread out and on book
A may-bug made captive, that attracts every look!