“Reflections,” Ensign, July 1976, 5


    The children break into my reverie.

    Three pairs of cold bare feet

    tumbling across the floor,

    three pairs of eager hands,

    wet and smudged,

    and reaching happily

    through my door.

    Three sets of shining eyes—

    and one bouquet.

    Bedraggled, broken-stemmed,

    brilliantly blue,

    presented with due ceremony,

    “This is for you!”

    I am impressed.

    I want to say

    where are your shoes?

    You will catch colds

    wading through wet grasses

    with bare feet.

    I almost repeat

    pragmatic words from long ago:

    These will not last …

    Don’t you know …

    Now that they’re plucked

    they’ll wither and die …

    I wonder why such thoughts

    so very swiftly flee

    when three wet children

    clamber round my knee

    delighting at my sigh

    of pleased surprise?

    Then, when they’ve gone giggling,

    and all is quiet again

    I look at this clumsy bouquet

    thrust in a kitchen cup,

    reflected in the water spilled

    upon my desk top.

    I think

    of all the gifts that I have earned today,

    this handful of small flowers,

    already drooping their perfect heads

    upon their fragile stems

    and wilting like my childhood days

    which seem so very far away—

    of all the gifts that I would wish to keep,

    this gift of love has blessed my life today.