As you might have gathered there isn’t much gardening getting done at the moment, and so to pass the time I’ve been clearing out a cupboard where I stumbled upon an old book of poems that had belonged to my mum.

Based upon her writing on the flyleaf she had been given it in 1929, probably as a 10th birthday gift. Coincidentally it would have been her birthday today. The book is called ‘Junior Modern Poetry’.

On thumbing through it’s delicate pages, I was reminded how my mum had read these poems to me when I was a small child. Sadly, she had also allowed me to ‘colour in’ the illustrations in the book, which probably wasn’t the best decision she ever made.

I’m not a great lover of poetry, and to be honest found some of the poems a bit heavy going even at my great age, so goodness knows what a 10 year old thought about them. They must have been made of sterner stuff in 1929.

However, one particular poem stood out from the rest for me, so I’m going to share it with you here. It’s called ‘The Burial of the Linnet’ and is credited to a Mrs Ewing.

After a bit of ‘Googling’ this turns out to be Juliana Horatia Ewing (1841 – 1885) who was born in Ecclesfield, a suburb of Sheffield. Daughter of a vicar and married to an army major, in her short life she was a prolific writer of children’s stories and verse.

I think this poem, although sad, is simply and beautifully written, though again I’m not sure what a 10 year old would make of it. See what you think.


Found in the garden dead in his beauty,
Oh, that a linnet should die in the Spring.
Bury him comrades, in pitiful duty,
Muffle the dinner-bell, solemnly ring.

Bury him kindly, up in the corner,
Bird, beast and goldfish are sepulchred there.
Bid the black kitten march as chief mourner,
Waving her tail like a plume in the air.

Bury him nobly, next to the donkey,
Fetch the old banner, and wave it about.
Bury him deeply, think of the monkey,
Shallow his grave and the dogs get him out.

Bury him softly, white wool around him,
Kiss his poor feathers, the first kiss and last.
Tell his poor widow kind friends have found him,
Plant his poor grave with whatever grows fast.

Farewell sweet singer, dead in thy beauty,
Silent through summer, though other birds sing.
Bury him, comrades, in pitiful duty,
Muffle the dinner-bell, mournfully ring.