Taking Time to Grow

By Mary Mapes Dodge 1831–1905
‘Mamma! mamma!’ two eaglets cried,
‘To let us fly you’ve never tried.
We want to go outside and play;
We’ll promise not to go away.’
The mother wisely shook her head:
‘No, no, my dears. Not yet,’ she said.

‘But, mother dear,’ they called again,
‘We want to see those things called men,
And all the world so grand and gay,
Papa described the other day.
And – don’t you know? – he told you then
About a little tiny wren,
That flew about so brave and bold,
When it was scarcely four weeks old?’

But still the mother shook her head;
‘No, no, my dears, not yet,’ she said.
‘Before you see the world below,
Far bigger you will have to grow.
There’s time enough to look for men;
And as for wrens – a wren’s a wren.
What if your freedom does come late?
An eaglet can afford to wait.’

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Mary Mapes Dodge 1831–1905

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Youth, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Nursery Rhymes

 Mary Mapes Dodge

Biography

Poet Mary Mapes Dodge was born into an academic family in New York, and was educated at home by tutors. At 20 she married a lawyer with whom she had two children. After her husband’s death seven years later, Dodge began her writing career to support her sons. Dodge’s most famous children’s novel, Hans Brinker; or, The Silver Skates (1865), was inspired by historian John Lothrop Motley’s The Rise of the Dutch Republic and The . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Parenthood

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Nursery Rhymes

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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