And then reluctant turn –
My flowers raise their pretty lips –
Then put their nightgowns on.
As children caper when they wake –
Merry that it is Morn –
My flowers from a hundred cribs
Will peep, and prance again.
- F127 (1859) 133
It’s a simple poem in simple ballad or hymn form: two quatrains of alternating tetrameter and trimeter with rhymes – or in this case, slant rhymes – on the second and fourth line of each stanza. The structure of the imagery is simple, too. Two lines present children either reluctantly going to bed or merrily getting up, and the lines that follow them present the flowers.The reader has to pull a veil a bit over their imagination as it’s hard to imagine the dying flowers of autumn as putting “their nightgowns on,” as well as prancing when spring comes around again and they “peep” out of the earth. But it’s a sweet thought: flowers don’t like their long winter sleep anymore than children like having to go to bed. And both flowers and children are adorable.