Lizette Woodworth Reese
A Haunting Memory
Wild rockets blew along the lane;
The tall white gentians too were there;
The mullein stalks were brave again;
Of blossoms was the bramble bare;
And toward the pasture bars below
The cows went by me, tinkling slow.
Straight through the sunset flew a thrush,
And sang the only song he knew,
Perched on a ripening elder bush;
(Oh, but to give his song its due!)
Sang it, and ceased, and left it there
To haunt bush, blade, and golden air.
Oh, but to make it plain to you!
My words were wrought for grosser stuff;
To give that lonely tune its due,
Never a word is sweet enough;
A thing to think on when ’twas past,
As is the first rose or the last.
The lad, driving his cows along,
Strode whistling through the windy grass;
The little pool the shrubs among
Lay like a bit of yellow glass;
A window in the farmhouse old,
Turned westward, was of glaring gold.
I have forgotten days and days,
And much well worth the holding fast;
Yet not the look of those green ways,
The bramble with its bloom long past,
The tinkling cows, the scent, the hush—
Still on the eider sings that thrush.
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