Poems from the Pages · The Magazine Rack

Poem: Queen Anne’s Lace

A closeup photo of a meadow with white Queen Anne's Lace flowers. In the background to the left you see some yellow summer flowers.

I always loved Queen Anne’s Lace. When I was young I memorized the poem Queen Anne’s Lace by Mary Leslie Newton that brought the flower to life for me. You may know it. It went like this:

Queen Anne, Queen Anne has washed her lace
(She chose a Summer’s day)
And hung it in a grassy place,
To whiten, if it may.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, has left it there,
And slept the dewy night:
Then waked, to find the sunshine fair,
And all the meadows white.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, is dead and gone
(She died a Summer’s day)
But left her lace to whiten on
Each weed-entangled way!

I expected to see the poem above when I turned the pages of a September issue of Needlecraft magazine and saw the title of the monthly poem. Seeing a poem for adults in the space surprised me, I was so ready for the children’s chant above.

I poked around a bit to unearth some history for both poets. While I can find a good deal of information about Mary Leslie Newton, whose life was well documented and who wrote several books, I found almost nothing on Alicia C. Stewart.

Apparently Alicia’s poetry found occasional publication, even if she is forgotten today. I located one poem called Thanksgiving, published in a Vermont newspaper in 1934. But as far as I can tell, she published no compilations, she appeared in few magazines, and she left her papers to no university. If anyone knows anything about Alicia C. Stewart, the poet, please drop a line in the comments. I’d like to find out more about her.

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's Lace
by Alicia C. Stewart

As I looked from my window this morning
  O'er the meadows, drenched deeply with dew
That the sunbeams were turning to diamonds
  A marvelous miracle grew.
There, dainty and white as a snowflake,
  And pure as a baby's sweet face,
All over the green carpet scattered
  Glistened patches of Queen Anne's Lace.

Were they dropped from the hands of the fairies ––
  Wee 'kerchiefs so filmy and fine?
I wondered what magic had brought them,
  Like stars in the meadow to shine;
And whether a needle or shuttle,
  Each serving so well in its place,
Was plied by Queen Anne's skillful fingers
  As she fashioned her beautiful lace.

Arily, gracefully swaying,
  Facing the sun and the sky ––
No loom for that magical weaving,
  No shuttle nor needle to ply.
Straight from the hand of the Father,
  Pasture and meadow to grace
Teaching the lesson of trusting,
  came this wonderful Queen Anne's Lace.

One of the things that appealed to me about this poem, Queen Anne’s Lace, was its mention of needle and shuttle made lace. What a delightful nod to the lacemakers among us. I wondered which kind of lacemaking needle the poet had in mind, if any, when she wrote these words?

If you enjoyed this poem about nature and its flowers, you may enjoy A Song of June as well.