You go to the woods – what there have you seen?
Quivering leaves glossy and green;
Lights and Shadows dance to and fro,
Beautiful flowers in the soft moss grow.
Is the secret of these things known to you?
Can you tell what gives the flower its hue?
Why the oak spreads out its limbs so wide?
And the graceful grape-vine grows by its side?
Why clouds full of sunshine are piled on high?
What sends the wind to sweep through the sky?
No! the secret of Nature I do not know –
A poor groping child, through her marvels I go!
Carolyn Sturgis Tappan
From The Dial, IV, January 1844
[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]
Carolyn Sturgis Tappan biography