Alice Cary

(1820-1871 / USA)

Fire Pictures


In the embers all aglow,
Fancy makes the pictures plain,
As I listen to the snow
Beating chill against the pane -
The wild December snow
On the lamp-illumined pane.

Bent downward from his prime,
Like the ripe fruit from its bough,
As I muse my simple rhyme,
I can see my father now,
With the warning flowers of time
Blooming white about his brow.

Sadly flows the willow tree
On the hill so dear, yet dread,
Where the resting-places be,
Of our dear ones that are dead -
Where the mossy headstones be,
Of my early playmates dead.

But despite the dismal snow,
Blinding all the window o'er,
And the wind, that, crouching low,
Whines against my study door,
In the embers' twilight glow
I can see one picture more.

Seeming almost within call,
'Neath our ancient trysting tree,
Art thou pictured, source of all
That was ever dear to me;
But the wasted embers fall,
And the night is all I see -

The night with gusts of snow
Blowing wild against the pane,
And the wind that crouches low,
Crying mournfully in vain,
And the dreams that come and go
Through my memory-haunted brain.

Submitted: Friday, April 11, 2014

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