Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AT THE SIGN OF THE ALMOND TREE, by LOUISE MANNING HODGKINS

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First Line: To the inn of the sign of the almond tree
Last Line: Beyond the peaceful almond tree.
Subject(s): Almond Trees; Trees; Universities & Colleges - Faculty; Wellesley College

TO the Inn of the Sign of the Almond Tree
Who cometh hither comes full late,
Yet little recks he is belate
As he enters its tranquillity.

There is shelter here from the day's long strain;
Soft-sandaled hours in long defile
Forget the many a weary mile,
The dust and heat of hill and plain.

Friends tried and true await each guest;
Here tales are told and songs are sung
To olden harps again restrung
Ere life grew weary of its quest.

One sits and talks of other days;
And of the dear and sainted dead.
No kindly word is left unsaid,
Recalling ancient words and ways.

The books one loved, an old school face,
A fair green field, a happy hill,
That lead by wood or stream or mill
To end in some sweet trysting place.

Obedient to Time's behoof,
Guests bide not long, but bide content
Nor glad nor sad when day is spent,
Beneath the western, sheltering roof.

Then one by one they pay their score;
Who gently came as gently go,
For past the Sign how well they know
Awaits a wider, open door.

With larger welcome, fair and free,
Unspoiled of time, unworn of age,
The crown of all the pilgrimage
Beyond the peaceful Almond Tree.

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