Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
They sing their dearest songs— He, she, all of them—yea, Treble and tenor and bass. And one to play; With the candles mooning each face... Ah, no; the years O! How the sick leaves reel down in throngs! They clear the creeping moss— Elders and juniors-—aye, Making the pathways neat And the garden gay; And they build a shady seat... Ah, no; the years, the years; See, the white storm-birds wing across! They are blithely breakfasting all— Men and maidens—yea, Under the summer tree, With a glimpse of the bay, While pet fowl come to the knee... Ah, no; the years O! And the rotten rose is ripped from the wall. They change to a high new house, He, she, all of them—aye, Clocks and carpets and chairs On the lawn all day, And brightest things that are theirs... Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the raindrop plows.