Anna B. Warner

Ready for Duty

Daffy-down-dilly came up in the cold,

Through the brown mold.

Although the March breezes blew keen on her face,

Although the white snow lay on many a place.

Daffy-down-dilly had heard under ground

The sweet rushing sound

Of the streams, as they burst off their white winter chains—

Of the whistling spring winds and the pattering rains.

"Now then," thought Daffy, deep down in her heart,

"It's time I should start!"

So she pushed her soft leaves through the hard frozen ground,

Quite up to the surface, and then she looked round.

There was snow all about her—gray clouds overhead,

The trees all looked dead.

Then how do you think Daffy-down-dilly felt,

When the sun would not shine and the ice would not melt?

"Cold weather!" thought Daffy, still working away

"The earth's hard to-day!

There's but a half inch of my leaves to be seen,

And two-thirds of that is more yellow than green."

"I can't do much yet—but I 'll do what I can.

It 's well I began!

For unless I can manage to lift up my head,

The people will think that the Spring herself's dead."

So, little by little, she brought her leaves out,

All clustered about;

And then her bright flowers began to unfold,

Till Daffy stood robed in her spring green and gold.

O Daffy-down-dilly! so brave and so true!

I wish all were like you!

So ready for duty in all sorts of weather,

And holding forth courage and beauty together.