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St. Francis and the Birds

 Little sisters, the birds: 
We must praise God, you and I­ 
You, with songs that fill the sky, 
I, with halting words.
All things tell His praise, Woods and waters thereof sing, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring, And the night and days.
Yea, and cold and heat, And the sun and stars and moon, Sea with her monotonous tune, Rain and hail and sleet, And the winds of heaven, And the solemn hills of blue, And the brown earth and the dew, And the thunder even, And the flowers' sweet breath.
All things make one glorious voice; Life with fleeting pains and joys, And our brother, Death.
Little flowers of air, With your feathers soft and sleek, And your bright brown eyes and meek, He hath made you fair.
He hath taught to you Skill to weave in tree and thatch Nests where happy mothers hatch Speckled eggs of blue.
And hath children given: When the soft heads overbrim The brown nests, then thank ye Him In the clouds of heaven.
Also in your lives Live His laws Who loveth you.
Husbands, be ye kind and true; Be home-keeping, wives: Love not gossiping; Stay at home and keep the nest; Fly not here and there in quest Of the newest thing.
Live as brethren live: Love be in each heart and mouth; Be not envious, be not wroth, Be not slow to give.
When ye build the nest, Quarrel not o'er straw or wool; He who hath be bountiful To the neediest.
Be not puffed nor vain Of your beauty or your worth, Of your children or your birth, Or the praise ye gain.
Eat not greedily: Sometimes for sweet mercy's sake, Worm or insect spare to take; Let it crawl or fly.
See ye sing not near To our church on holy day, Lest the human-folk should stray From their prayers to hear.
Now depart in peace: In God's name I bless each one; May your days be long i' the sun And your joys increase.
And remember me, Your poor brother Francis, who Loves you and gives thanks to you For this courtesy.
Sometimes when ye sing, Name my name, that He may take Pity for the dear song's sake On my shortcoming.

Poem by Katharine Tynan
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