The Cattail Arrow by Clara Doty Bates

Little Sammie made a bow,

Well indeed he loved to whittle,

Shaped it like the half of O—

How he could I scarcely know,

For his fingers were so little.

As he whittled came a sigh:

"If I only had an arrow;

Something light enough to fly

To the tree-tops or the sky!

Then I'd have such fun tomorrow."

Then he thought of all the slim

Things that grow—the hazel bushes,

Willow branches, poplars trim—

And yet nothing suited him

Till he chanced to think of rushes.

He knew well a quiet pool

Where he always paused a minute

On his way to district school,

Just to see the waters cool

And his own bright face within it.

There the cat-tails thickly grew,

With their heads so brown and furry;

They were straight and slender too,

Plenty strong enough he knew,

And he sought them in a hurry.

Such an arrow as he wrought—

Almost passed a boy's believing.

When he drew the bow-string taut,

Out of sight and quick as thought

Up it went, the blue air cleaving.

Who was Sammie, would you know?

It was grandpa—he was little

Nearly eighty years ago;

But 'tis no doubt as fine a bow

As the best he still could whittle.