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About this poet

Lizette Woodworth Reese was born in Maryland in 1856. She was named poet laureate of Maryland in 1931. Her books include A Branch of May (1887) and A Wayside Lute (1909). Reese died in 1935. 

Telling the Bees

Lizette Woodworth Reese

A Colonial Custom

Bathsheba came out to the sun,
Out to our wallèd cherry-trees;
The tears adown her cheek did run,
Bathsheba standing in the sun,
Telling the bees.

My mother had that moment died;
Unknowing, sped I to the trees,
And plucked Bathsheba’s hand aside;
Then caught the name that there she cried
Telling the bees.

Her look I never can forget,
I that held sobbing to her knees;
The cherry-boughs above us met;
I think I see Bathsheba yet
Telling the bees.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Lizette Woodworth Reese

Lizette Woodworth Reese was born in Maryland in 1856. She was named poet laureate of Maryland in 1931. Her books include A Branch of May (1887) and A Wayside Lute (1909). Reese died in 1935. 

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The wind stooped down and wrote a sweet, small word,
But the snow fell, and all the writing blurred:
Now, the snow gone, we read it as we pass,—
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The east is yellow as a daffodil.
Three steeples—three stark swarthy arms—are thrust
Up from the town. The gnarlèd poplars thrill
Down the long street in some keen salty gust—
Straight from the sea and all the sailing ships—
Turn white, black, white again, with noises sweet
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No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But ’long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their