The following selections from Opal Whiteley’s The Flower of Stars have been slightly edited by Pacific Northwest author Jennefer Jane Harper. Currently, she is working on a book about Opal Whiteley which features Whiteley’s original poems accompanied by annotation and analysis. Opal was about 24 when she published them.
Ms. Harper has a master’s degree and is a certified Language Arts educator in Eugene, Oregon. She has two sons. When she is not facilitating incredible learning experiences for children of all ages, she is busy researching the many mysteries of Opal Whiteley.
The Flower of Stars
There be Stars in the sky
And Stars in the heart of man
And Stars in the soul of a child
And Stars in the eyes of woman
This be a little booke
Of a flowering of these Stars
That are lamps to man’s way
Night And The Little Failures
Night took up the web of life
And wove a star thereon
Of amethyst and silver glimmering.
From her rosary she drew a pearl
And gave its holding to this star
Lest coldness come to her heart
With forgetting of sorrow’s old tears
In the midst of unfolding years.
Also, Night took from her girdle, a rose
And caught in its petals the hour glimmering
That this star might be a flower
To shed its fragrance on earth fields.
So wove she into beauty
The little failures of man,
But his successes
She cast to earth again.
The Little Room
In Man’s heart is a little room.
He has named it
And things are arranged along its wall
That he does not wish
To think about.
Every time he pushes something in there
He closes the door very tightly.
But in hours when he is weary,
In the hours that walk around some midnights
When high fires have burned
To a low flicker
Then the little door swings on its hinges.
And no thing
Will make it stay closed
All of the time.
When he is near death
All the Velvet-footed Wanderers in there
Join the throng around his bed,
“We will not die,” they whisper
To one another.
While Beauty waits with drawn lips,
And dry eyes.
But, there is heard
The patter of a little sad rain
In her heart’s garden
Where some little flower buds
That were once thinking of the sun
Will never open
Because man keeps a little room
Of oblivion in his soul.
The Little Comet: A Tale for Children and Taller Ones
There is a little comet
That whirls around the world.
He is seen nearing earth
At the graylight hour of seven.
But, mostly, he is seen
Dancing and prancing up and down
The high hall of heaven.
He goeth quickly,
Yet may be always with us.
He sparkles a song
That is like a ribbon
With a jingle ball on it.
Have you heard him sing?
“I’m tired of being just a comet-
I’d like to find a home.
I can be in a lot of places
At one time,
Only people don’t know it.
“My tail can be very big with light
And I’d like to go to bed at night.”
“I’m so weary and lonely.
Most people think me
A comet only,
I do not want to roam
I wish I had a home
I could spread my tail our right
And make all the house light
And the children’s eyes bright.
I have had no home for many years,
I had to go out
From the Garden of Eden
When Adam and Eve went.
If you want me, call me,
I am called ‘Content’.
I’ll come with patter light
At latter light,
Spreading my name
On my tail behind me
CONTENT WITH LITTLE THINGS.