The DOVE – order Columbidae
There is a lovely poem about the humble lessons of charity and love that the Dove brings to us. The poem, My Doves, was written by 19th century American author and poet Louisa May Alcott:
Opposite my chamber window,
On the sunny roof, at play,
High above the city’s tumult,
Flocks of doves sit day by day.
Shining necks and snowy bosoms,
Little rosy, tripping feet,
Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings,
Cooing voices, low and sweet,–
Graceful games and friendly meetings,
Do I daily watch and see.
For these happy little neighbors
Always seem at peace to be.
On my window-ledge, to lure them,
Crumbs of bread I often strew,
And, behind the curtain hiding,
Watch them flutter to and fro.
Soon they cease to fear the giver,
Quick are they to feel my love,
And my alms are freely taken
By the shyest little dove.
In soft flight, they circle downward,
Peep in through the window-pane;
Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me,
Peck and coo, and come again.
Faithful little friends and neighbors,
For no wintry wind or rain,
Household cares or airy pastimes,
Can my loving birds restrain.
Other friends forget, or linger,
But each day I surely know
That my doves will come and leave here
Little footprints in the snow.
So, they teach me the sweet lesson,
That the humblest may give
Help and hope, and in so doing,
Learn the truth by which we live;
For the heart that freely scatters
Simple charities and loves,
Lures home content, and joy, and peace,
Like a soft-winged flock of doves.
Here are a few little tidbits to pass along to your kids and grandkids to combine literature and life:
– Doves vocalize a gentle coo-ing sound. The coo calls are used to call attention to something like food or danger, and also as courting calls.
– A Dove’s wings make a fluttery whirring sound when it takes flight. This may be to ward off intruders and predators.
– Doves have a homing ability that allows them to fly far from home in search of food and then return.
– The Dove’s homing ability led man to train it to carry messages. The Egyptians created special paper for Doves and Pigeons to carry messages.
– Doves and Pigeons were once known as the fastest method of communication on earth, often carrying secret messages and important information.
– Doves were once highly regarded for their droppings, used for excellent fertilizer.
– As early a Biblical writings, the Dove has been known as a symbol of love and peace.
Ah. The Dove in real-life. Combining literature and life makes reading so much more special.
Reading My Doves gives us a great opportunity to talk with our kids about the faithful and friendly nature of creatures. Knowledge of the Dove as a real-life bird gives you so much to discuss… and your kids so much to think about as they embrace the literature.
The poet, Louisa May Alcott, obviously loves the visits of the Doves… making them a very important part of her day. The Doves know her, she knows them, and she even goes so far as to call them MY Doves!
Share My Doves with your kids and talk about the poet’s feeling of contentment, joy and peace as the Doves come home each day.
Are the Doves in the poem like Doves in real-life? Yes!
Join me here each day in August for AUGUST TWEET-TWEETS on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a bit of “tweet-tweet”!