‘The Aloe Plant’ by Henry Harbaugh

I own this book called “The Best Loved Poems of the American People” edited by Hazel Felleman that my mother used to own (it was published in the mid-’30s), and I decided to revisit it yesterday. I have several pages marked from middle school when I was required to select some poems to memorize and recite to my class. I really love some of the poetry (though almost allll of it is rhyme) and there’s this one I rediscovered that I had to memorize, and I had forgotten all about it.

The feeling of revisiting a piece you’ve memorized is, quite honestly, unlocking a part of yourself. I spent so many hours getting the memorization right, that it just became etched inside me, so when I reread it yesterday, I just knew it in the back of my head all the way through. It was kind of weird haha, but really cool and sentimental all the same.

I love this piece, and I decided to share it with all of you:

The Aloe Plant by Henry Harbaugh

Have you heard the tale of the aloe plant,
Away in the sunny clime?
By humble growth of a hundred years
It reaches its blooming time;
And then a wondrous bud at its crown
Breaks into a thousand flowers;
This floral queen in its blooming seen
Is the pride of the tropical bowers;
But the plant to the flower is a sacrifice,
For it blooms but once, and in blooming dies.

Have you heard the tale of the pelican,
The Arab’s Gomel el Bahr,
That dwells in the African solitudes
Where the birds that live lonely are?
Have you heard how it loves its tender young,
And cares and toils for their good?
It brings them water from fountains afar
And fishes the seas for their food.
In famine it feeds them what love can devise —
The blood of its bosom — and, feeding them, dies.

Have you heard the tale they tell of the swan,
The snow-white bird of the lake?
It noiselessly floats on the silvery wave,
It silently sits in the brake;
For it saves its song till the end of life,
And then, in the soft, still even,
‘Mid the golden light of the setting sun
It sings as it soars into heaven,
And the blessed notes fall back from the skies —
‘Tis its only song, for in singing it dies.

You have heard the tales. Shall I tell you one,
A greater and better than all?
Have you heard of Him whom the Heavens adore,
Before whom the hosts of them fall?
How He left the choirs and anthems above
For earth in its wailings and woes,
And suffered the shame and pain of the cross
To die for the life of His foes.
His death is our life, His loss is our gain —
The joy for the tear — the peace for the pain.


It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Sad most of the way through but amazingly beautiful at the end. What are you thoughts on it? 

Also: Today is my first year blogiversary! I’m going to do a post later on today about that 🙂 Thank you for all of your encouragement in the growth of this blog.

Pax in Christo!



One thought on “‘The Aloe Plant’ by Henry Harbaugh

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