Uncles!--Uncle John, an' Jim,--an' I'
Got Uncle George, an' Uncle Andy, too,
An' Uncle Frank, an' Uncle Joe.--An' you
Know_ Uncle _Mart_.--An', all but _him, they're great
Big mens!--An' nen s Aunt Sarah--she makes eight!--
I'm got eight_ uncles!--'cept Aunt Sarah _can't
Be ist my uncle_ 'cause she's ist my _aunt!"
Then, next to Alex--and the last indeed
Of these five little ones of whom you read--
Was baby Lizzie, with her velvet lisp,--
As though her Elfin lips had caught some wisp
Of floss between them as they strove with speech,
Which ever seemed just in yet out of reach--
Though what her lips missed, her dark eyes could say
With looks that made her meaning clear as day.
And, knowing now the children, you must know
The father and the mother they loved so:--
The father was a swarthy man, black-eyed,
Black-haired, and high of forehead; and, beside
The slender little mother, seemed in truth
A very king of men--since, from his youth,
To his hale manhood now--(worthy as then,--
A lawyer and a leading citizen
Of the proud little town and county-seat--
His hopes his neighbors', and their fealty sweet)--
He had known outdoor labor--rain and shine--
Bleak Winter, and bland Summer--foul and fine.
So Nature had ennobled him and set
Her symbol on him like a coronet:
His lifted brow, and frank, reliant face.--
Superior of stature as of grace,
Even the children by the spell were wrought
Up to heroics of their simple thought,
And saw him, trim of build, and lithe and straight
And tall, almost, as at the pasture-gate
The towering ironweed the scythe had spared
For their sakes, when The Hired Man declared
It would grow on till it became a tree,
With cocoanuts and monkeys in--maybe!
Yet, though the children, in their pride and awe
And admiration of the father, saw
A being so exalted--even more
Like adoration was t
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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