Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OLD CHUMS, by ALICE CARY



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OLD CHUMS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Is it you, jack? Old boy, is it really you?
Last Line: And I don't feel a day older, jack, not a day.
Subject(s): Aging; Friendship


IS it you, Jack? Old boy, is it really you?
I should n't have known you but that I was told
You might be expected; -- pray how do you do?
But what, under heaven, has made you so old?

Your hair! why, you've only a little gray fuzz!
And your beard's white! but that can be beautifully dyed;
And your legs are n't but just half as long as they was;
And then -- stars and garters! your vest is so wide!

Is that your hand? Lord, how I envied you that
In the time of our courting, -- so soft and so small,
And now it is callous inside, and so fat, --
Well, you beat the very old deuce, that is all.

Turn round! let me look at you! is n't it odd,
How strange in a few years a fellow's chum grows!
Your eye is shrunk up like a bean in a pod,
And what are these lines branching out from your nose?

Your back has gone up and your shoulders gone down,
And all the old roses are under the plough;
Why, Jack, if we'd happened to meet about town,
I wouldn't have known you from Adam, I vow!

You've had trouble, have you? I'm sorry; but John,
All trouble sits lightly at your time of life.
How's Billy, my namesake? You don't say he's gone
To the war, John, and that you have buried your wife?

Poor Katharine! so she has left you -- ah me!
I thought she would live to be fifty, or more.
What is it you tell me? She was fifty-three!
Oh no, Jack! she wasn't so much, by a score!

Well, there's little katy, -- was that her name, John?
She'll rule your house one of these days like a queen.
That baby! good Lord! is she married and gone?
With a Jack ten years old! and a Katy fourteen!

Then I give it up! Why, you're younger than I
By ten or twelve years, and to think you've come back
A sober old graybeard, just ready to die!
I don't understand how it is -- do you, Jack?

I've got all my faculties yet, sound and bright;
Slight failure my eyes are beginning to hint;
But still, with my spectacles on, and a light
'Twixt them and the page, I can read any print.

My hearing is dull, and my leg is more spare,
Perhaps, than it was when I beat you at ball;
My breath gives out, too, if I go up a stair, --
But nothing worth mentioning, nothing at all!

My hair is just turning a little you see,
And lately I've put on a broader-brimmed hat
Than I wore at your wedding, but you will agree,
Old fellow, I look all the better for that.

I'm sometimes a little rheumatic, 't is true,
And my nose isn't quite on a straight line, they say;
For all that, I don't think I've changed much, do you?
And I don't feel a day older, Jack, not a day.





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