In honor of Burrough’s first book - Wake-Robin, I found a little-known poem by Rebecca Salsbury Palfrey Utter (Books by this author) called The Wake-Robin. 

Rebecca was the wife of a Chicago minister named David Utter. She was a selfless missionary who coined the term “Daughter of the King” in one of her more popular poems. Rebecca was a descendant of Gene Williams Palfrey who served with George Washington and served as ambassador to France. Here’s The Wake-Robin by Rebecca Salsbury Palfrey Utter.

THE WAKE-ROBIN (or trillium)
When leaves green and hardy 
From sleep have just uncurled — 
Spring is so tardy 
In this part of the world — 
There comes a white flower forth, 
Opens its eyes, 
Looks out upon the earth, 
In drowsy surprise.

A fair and pleasant vision 
The nodding blossoms make ; 
And the flower's name and mission 
Is "Wake, robin, wake !” 
But you're late, my lady, 
You have not earned your name ; 
Robin's up already, 
Long before you came.

You trusted the sun's glances, 
To rouse you from your naps ;
Or the brook that near you dances 
At spring's approach, perhaps ; 
Your chamber was too shady, 
The drooping trees among ; 
Robin's up already, 
Don't you hear his song?

There he sits, swinging, ‘ 
In his brown and scarlet cloak, 
His notes like laughter ringing ; 
'Tis plain he sees the joke. 
" Accidents will happen,” 
Laughs robin loud and clear ;
" If you think to catch me napping, 
Wake earlier next year! "
 
 
 


As featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.
Wake-Robin: The Writings of John Burroughs
Wake-Robin: The Writings of John Burroughs