Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, YESTERDAY, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON



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YESTERDAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: My friend, he spoke of a woman's face
Last Line: That yesterday is the long ago.
Subject(s): Faces; Flowers; Past; Time


MY friend, he spoke of a woman's face;
It puzzled me, and I paused to think.
He told of her eyes and mouth, the trace
Of prayer on her brow, and quick as wink
I said: "Oh yes, but you wrong her years.
She's only a child, with faith and fears
That childhood fit. I tell thee nay;
She was a girl just yesterday."

"The years are swift and sure, I trow,"
(Quoth he). "You speak of the long ago."

Once I strolled in a garden spot,
And every flower upraised a head
(So it seemed), for they, I wot,
Were mates of mine; each bloom and bed,
Their hours for sleep, their merry mood,
The lives and deaths of the whole sweet brood,
Were known to me; it was my way
To visit them but yesterday.

Spake one red rose, in a language low:
"We saw you last in the long ago."

Entering under the lintel wide,
I saw the room; it was all the same:
The oaken press and the shelves aside,
The window small for the sunset flame,
The book I loved on the table large;
I opened: lo! in the yellow marge
The leaf I placed was shrunk and gray.
I swear it was green but yesterday.

Then a voice stole out of the sunset glow:
"You lived here, man, in the long ago."

'Tis the same old tale, though it comes to me
By a hundred paths of pain and glee,
Till I guess the truth at last, and know
That Yesterday is the Long Ago.





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