Tag Archives: Samantha Little

Quiet, Please

"One More Step, Mr. Hands..." N.C. Wyeth.
“One More Step, Mr. Hands…” N.C. Wyeth.


Quiet, Please

Samantha Little


“Quiet, please!” says the librarian.

I nod and pass with a softened tread

Through the quiet ranks of books, and then

Choose one that I have not yet read.


“Quiet, please!” said the librarian,

But pirates leap on the shining deck,

Clamber over briny ropes, and then

Sing raucous ballads about a wreck.


“Quiet, please!” said the librarian,

But the jungles crash beneath the stamp

Of the rajah’s elephant, and then

Follows a procession with stately tramp.


“Quiet, please!” said the librarian,

But the horse’s hooves sound loud and clear,

The scaly dragon roars flames, and then

Knight George has freed the folk from fear.


“Well, well,” says the librarian,

“You have been nice and quiet today.”

I nod and smile politely, then

Claim, “It’s not as quiet as they say.”


Woman Ironing (Silhouette). Edgar Degas. 1873.



Samantha Little, 2013


I woke alive and happy.

I don’t recall why, or whether there had ever been a reason,

But the fresh expectancy persisted

Through a breakfast of dry toast and weak tea,

And a drab heap of ironing.


I hummed a waltz as I dragged

The spluttering iron over wrinkled cloth,

And I watched the avocado leaves

Scatter the sunshine on the bare wall.

I collect coins for a Renoir print,

But now I rejoice in the unfettered adornment

Of light and shadow, shadow and light,

Dancing on my wall.


“I woke up very happy this morning. I don’t remember why or whether I ever knew, but the attitude of fresh expectancy persisted, sustained, perhaps, by Amy Lowell’s poetry. I have been transcribing my favorites from Pictures of the Floating World[...] Will this serenity, I wonder, conquer the heap of ironing and buttons to be sewn?… It did; it rested on all my day like a benediction.”—from a journal entry dated August 9, 2011

The Lizard

Farm Women at Work. Georges Seurat.

The Lizard

Samantha Little, 2010


A glitt’ring beetle is grasped in his wide grin—

A rich prize for future feeding,

And his eye of shifting amber, with its twin,

Watches the girl who is weeding.


” It is a silly quatrain, but the beetle shone like polished ebony in the afternoon sun, a lizard’s mouth does look ridiculously like a smile, and this lizard’s hazel gaze was particularly penetrating as he hurried along the garden bed I was preparing for tomatoes.”—from a journal entry dated November 15, 2010.

A Sick Bed


A Sick Bed

Samantha Little, 2010


The leaves of the avocado dance

In tremulous pattern across the cotton expanse of my lap

To the lilt of a violin romance.


My old Noritake with the saucer chipped

Holds an amber treasure of ginger tea which, childish, I have,

In admiration of its tints, not sipped.


Leaves dancing to a Beethoven symphony—

If it were not for this feverish headache I would not mind

Lying in bed, admiring ginger tea.


This poem is taken from life. Illness often presents a mixed blessing; although we suffer such symptoms as headaches and sore throats, lying abed provides an opportunity to be still and reflective.

Mockingbird Morning

Patchwork. Unknown artist.


Mockingbird Morning

Samantha Little, 2010


The blue, sonorous summer night

Is thrilled by a sudden song that

Warms and grows like a golden light

Through my open bedroom window.


I lie still in limp cotton sheets,

Ignoring the stern insistence

Of clocks that unimpassioned beat

The passage of wee morning hours.


Why does he sing? Does he not know

That the pale queen still rules the sky?—

The golden king still far below

The dark horizon edged with stars?


His song yet unabated flows

And weaves itself among the trees,

And I with eyes that will not close,

Lie wakeful because of beauty.


 “My mockingbird has returned. Perhaps you remember him? Several weeks ago, he woke me up at three in the morning with his rhapsodies. I was not thrilled at the time, but I do enjoy listening to him in the daylight, once I am meant to be awake!”—from a letter dated April 21, 2009.