The Seedling

The Seedling, by Paul Laurence Dunbar, is an interesting poem about a seedling struggling to grow and survive - a lesson for children who are growing up, from one of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition. This poem was published in 1913. Scroll down for 2 printables - in colour or black and white, or click here for a slideshow version for your screen / whiteboard.

The Seedling

by Paul Laurence Dunbar
 
As a quiet little seedling
Lay within its darksome bed,
To itself it fell a–talking,
And this is what it said:

“I am not so very robust,
But I ‘ll do the best I can;”
And the seedling from that moment
Its work of life began.

So it pushed a little leaflet
Up into the light of day,
To examine the surroundings
And show the rest the way.

The leaflet liked the prospect,
So it called its brother, Stem;
Then two other leaflets heard it,
And quickly followed them.

To be sure, the haste and hurry
Made the seedling sweat and pant;
But almost before it knew it
It found itself a plant.

The sunshine poured upon it,
And the clouds they gave a shower;
And the little plant kept growing
Till it found itself a flower.

Little folks, be like the seedling,
Always do the best you can;
Every child must share life’s labor
Just as well as every man.

And the sun and showers will help you
Through the lonesome, struggling hours,
Till you raise to light and beauty
Virtue’s fair, unfading flowers.

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The Seedling printable

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