THE white dove sat on the sunny eaves, 

And "What will you do when the winter wind grieves?"

She said to the busy nut-hatch small, 

Tapping above in the gable tall.

He probed each crack with his slender beak, 

And much too busy he was to speak; 

Spiders that thought themselves safe and sound, 

And moths and flies and cocoons he found. 

Oh, but the white dove, she was fair; 

Bright she shone in the autumn air, 

Turning her head from left to right; 

Only to watch her was such delight!

"Coo," she murmured, "poor little thing, 

What will you do when the frost shall sting? 

Spiders or flies will be hidden or dead, 

Snow underneath and snow overhead."

Nut-hatch paused from his busy care; 

"And what will you do, O white dove fair? " 

"Oh, kind hands feed me with crumbs and grain,

And I wait with patience for spring again."

He laughed so loud that his laugh I heard; 

"How can you be such a silly bird? 

What are your wings for, tell me, pray, 

But to bear you from tempest and cold away?

"Merrily oft to the South I fly, 

In search of the summer presently, 

And warmth and beauty I'll find anew; 

Why don't you follow the summer, too?" 

But she cooed content on her sunny eaves, 

And looked askance at the reddening leaves; 

And grateful I whispered, "O white dove true, 

I'll feed you and love you the winter through!

Celia Thaxter.