Poems from the Pages · The Magazine Rack

Poem: By Loving and Giving We Live

This is not your everyday Christmas poem for December. We read lots of poems about Santas and sleighs, about snowfalls and heavily-laden tables. This month’s poem, By Loving and Giving We Live, presents another perspective to the Christmas getting and giving.

This poem’s author is Clara Haven King. I can find no references to her or to her poetry. A periodical search, newspaper search, and book search turn up nothing. Of course, the possibility exists that the magazine got her name wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time I saw that.

This Christmas poem appeared in the December edition of Needlecraft Magazine in 1922. In the interest of keeping Clara Haven King’s poetry alive, I bring you By Loving and Giving We Live.

By Loving and Giving We Live

by Clara Haven King

“Oh, Christmas is coming again!” you say,
And you long for the time he is bringing;
But the costliest gifts may not gladden the day,
Nor help on the merry bells’ ringing.
Some getting is losing, you understand,
Some hoarding is far from saving;
What you hold in your hand may slip from the band,
There is something better than having.
We are richer for what we give,
And only by giving we live.

Your last year’s presents are scattered and gone;
You have almost forgotten who gave them;
But the loving thoughts you bestow live on
As long as you choose to have them.
Love, love is your riches, though ever so poor;
No money can buy that treasure;
Yours always, from robber and rust secure,
Your own without stint or measure.
It is only love that can give;
It is only by loving we live.

Do you know this poet?

If you have heard of Clara Haven King, or know of a place where her poetry was published, please drop a note in the comments and let me know. I’d like to read more of her work.

If you’d rather read about autumn than Christmas, Belle Bush’s October offers another look at life and humanity.

Poems from the Pages · The Magazine Rack

Poem: Autumn from 1922

Drawing of the top half of a Twenties model in a brown coat and hat with a large blue feather. She is looking at a tree branch next to her that is filled with brown leaves.

This month’s poem is Autumn, from 1922, by Laila Mitchell. Not much information exists about Laila. She seemed to be widely published as a poet. Newspapers, Ladie’s Home Journal, the American Agriculturalist, New Ideal Magazine, and more carried her poetry. I found her published in one book, from 1917: The Best Christmas Book: Recitations, Dialogues, Exercises, Plays… etc., edited by Joseph Sindelar. Definitely one to look at if you like vintage poetry and activities with young folks involved.

Although I’ve titled this poem Autumn from 1922, I have no idea when it was really written. Most of the poetry I found from Laila was printed between 1905 and 1938, and often they listed the periodical where the poem was published first. For instance, a poem about Christmas might be titled Christmasas seen in New Ideal Magazine. Whether this information was provided by Laila or the newspaper itself I have no idea.

So, in the hopes that Laila’s work will not pass from the earth, I give you her Fall poem.


by Laila Mitchell

When maple-leaves begin to show
A tint of crimson at their tips;
When clover-meadows umber grow,
And somber-hued the pheasant slips
Through copse and hedge, the truth is
We near the end of summers reign.

When chestnut-burrs have prickly grown,
And apples ripen on the trees,
When locusts hum their monotone,
And heavy-winged the laggard bees
Fly hiveward, then we’re sure at last
The golden summer-time is past.

When wild-grapes redden in the sun,
And milkweeds spill their snowy down,
When field-mice through the stubble run,
And sumacs don their crimson gown,
When birds in flocks at even meet,
Then autumn comes on flying feet.

And when we wanderers homeward turn,
Tired with the search for happier things,
When on the hearth the home-fires burn,
And in his nook the cricket sings,
We know the crown of all the year,
The gladdest, sweetest days are here.

Do you know Laila?

If you know anything about Laila or her history, or if she published her poetry in one place somewhere, I’d love to know. It seems that she started signing her poetry Laila Mitchell Thornton sometime in the late Twenties/early Thirties, but I was unable to find anything more than the few newspapers who listed her poetry with her added last name.

Laila wrote often about the seasons, the holidays, and nature. If you enjoy this type of nature poetry, you might enjoy this post about A Song of June.

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.