Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OLD PICTURES, by PHOEBE CARY



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OLD PICTURES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Old pictures, faded long, to-night
Last Line: Set in their midst, a child again!
Subject(s): Nostalgia


OLD pictures, faded long, to-night
Come out revealed by memory's gleam;
And years of checkered dark and light
Vanish behind me like a dream.

I see the cottage, brown and low,
The rustic porch, the roof-tree's shade,
And all the place where long ago
A group of happy children played.

I see the brother, bravest, best,
The prompt to act, the bold to speak;
The baby, dear and honored guest!
The timid sister, shy and meek.

I see her loving face who oft
Watched, that their slumbers might be sweet;
And his whose dear hand made so soft
The path for all their tender feet.

I see, far off, the woods whose screen
Bounded the little world we knew;
And near, in fairy rings of green,
The grass that round the door-stones grew.

I watch at morn the oxen come,
And bow their meek necks to the yoke;
Or stand at noontide, patient, dumb,
In the great shadow of the oak.

The barn with crowded mows of hay,
And roof upheld by golden sheaves;
Its rows of doves, at close of day,
Cooing together on the eaves.

I see, above the garden-beds,
The bee at work with laden wing;
The dandelions' yellow heads
Crowding about the orchard spring;

The little, sweet-voiced, homely thrush;
The field-lark, with her speckled breast;
The finches in the currant-bush;
And where the bluebirds hid their nest.

I see the comely apple-trees,
In spring, a-blush with blossoms sweet;
Or, bending with the autumn breeze,
Shake down their ripe fruits at our feet.

I see, when hurtling through the air
The arrows of the winter fly,
And all the frozen earth lies bare,
A group about the hearth draw nigh,

Of little ones that never tire
Of stories told and told again;
I see the pictures in the fire,
The firelight pictures in the pane.

I almost feel the stir and buzz
Of day; the evening's holy calm;
Yea, all that made me what I was,
And helped to make me what I am.

Then lo! it dies, as died our youth;
And things so strange about me seem,
I know not what should be the truth,
Nor whether I would wake or dream.

I have not found to-day so vain,
Nor yesterday so fair and good,
That I would have my life again,
And live it over if I could.

Not every hope for me has proved
A house on weak foundation built;
I have not seen the feet I loved
Caught in the awful snares of guilt.

But when I see the paths so hard
Kept soft and smooth in days gone by;
The lives that years have made or marred,
Out of my loneliness I cry:

Oh, for the friends that made so bright
The days, alas! too soon to wane!
Oh, but to be one hour to-night
Set in their midst, a child again!





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