by Evaleen Stein
Seven little nests of hay
We have made, for Easter day
Is to-morrow, and you know
We must have them ready, so
When the Rabbit comes she'll see
We expected her, that we
Children tried our very best
Each to make the nicest nest.
One is in the lilac-bush,
Near the ground--last year a thrush
Built a nest there--let me see,
Two are by the apple-tree,
In the clover--that makes three--
One beside the playhouse door, --
Three plus one, that must be four--
Two are in the tulip-bed--
Was it seven that I said?
Oh, yes! six I've counted, and
One is in our pile of sand.
* * * * *
Come and see! Oh, hurry, hurry!
For the Rabbit, kind and furry,
Has been here again and laid
Eggs in every nest we made!
Purple, orange, red, and blue,
Pink and green and yellow, too,
Like a bunch of finest flowers
Ever seen, and all are ours!
And oh, look! What do you think!
Here our names are in white ink,
All spelled nicely so we know
Just where every egg should go!
Is it not surprising, quite,
How well Easter Rabbits write?
A note from Leanne: When I first read this poem, I thought... "what in the world...?". Evaleen Stein is one of my favorite children's poets and one of the reasons is that she has captured the life of a North American child in the early 1900's in her poetry. This poem is the perfect example! After a bit of research, I discovered that children used to build little nests of moss and stones and grass and twigs in the yard the day before Easter Sunday. The next morning, they'd wake up to find a colored egg or two left by the Easter rabbit in their little nest.
If you step back and think about how much fun children still have today making mud pies, collecting shells on the beach or special rocks from a big pile of gravel you can imagine the simple fun pioneer children had building their little Easter nests. I'm sure some spent hours getting their nest just right. The fun came more from the effort they put in than the "stuff" they got. *wistful sigh* I think this year, my family may revisit this old tradition and have some fun building little nests in the back yard.
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