Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


At the Grave of the Forgotten

In a churchyard old and still,
Where the breeze-touched branches thrill
             To and fro,
Giant oak trees blend their shade
O'er a sunken grave-mound, made
             Long ago.

No stone, crumbling at its head,
Bears the mossed name of the dead
             Graven deep;
But a myriad blossoms' grace
Clothes with trembling light the place
             Of his sleep.

Was a young man in his strength
Laid beneath this low mound's length,
             Heeding naught?
Did a maiden's parents wail
As they saw her, pulseless, pale,
             Hither brought?

Was it else one full of days,
Who had traveled darksome ways,
             And was tired,
Who looked forth unto the end,
And saw Death come as a friend
             Long desired?

Who it was that rests below
Not earth's wisest now may know,
             Or can tell;
But these blossoms witness bear
They who laid the sleeper there
             Loved him well.

In the dust that closed him o'er
Planted they the garden store
             Deemed most sweet,
Till the fragrant gleam, outspread,
Swept in beauty from his head
             To his feet.

Still, in early springtime's glow,
Guelder-roses cast their snow
             O'er his rest;
Still sweet-williams breathe perfume
Where the peonies' crimson bloom
             Drapes his breast.

Passing stranger, pity not
Him who lies here, all forgot,
             'Neath this earth;
Some one loved him—more can fall
To no mortal. Love is all
             Life is worth.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“At the Grave of One Forgotten” was published in Rosemary and Pansies (Gorham Press, 1909).

Author


Effie Waller Smith

Effie Waller Smith, born January 6, 1879, is the author of Rosemary and Pansies (Gorham Press, 1909), Rhymes from the Cumberland (Broadway Publishing Company, 1904), and Songs of the Month (Broadway Publishing Company, 1904). She died on January 2, 1960.

Date Published: 1909-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/grave-forgotten