Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST LEAF, by OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES



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THE LAST LEAF, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I saw him once before
Last Line: Where I cling.
Subject(s): Adversity; Melville, Major Thomas; Old Age


I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door;
And again
The pavement-stones resound
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.
They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the crier on his round
Through the town.
But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
So forlorn;
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
"They are gone."
The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he had pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.
My grandmamma has said --
Poor old lady! she is dead
Long ago --
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.
But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff;
And a crook is in his back,
And the melancholy crack
In his laugh.
I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here,
But the old-three-cornered hat,
And the breeches -- and all that,
Are so queer!
And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.




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