Alexander Anderson

(1845-1909 / Scotland)

Those Footsteps


In the quiet hush of the tender night,
When my eyes fill up with tears,
Comes my darling unto me, all golden bright
With the sunshine of three sweet years.


And he smiles as he climbs to his seat on my knee,
To whisper his childish mirth;
Then clasps my neck—though you may not see,
For my darling is not of earth.


Not of this cold damp earth of ours,
That betimes, in its freaks of love,
Plucks away the buds from our sweetest flow'rs
To open them up above.


So I knew that my darling, though not with me,
Is in heaven an angel bright;
And the form that climbs up to his seat on my knee
Is the shadow of him to-night.


But this shadow meets me now no more
Half-a-mile from my lowly home,
Nor is seen in the shade of the half-shut door,
A waiting until I come.


Only within the twilight gloom,
When the hours are long and sweet,
I hear all about in the lonely room
The patter of little feet—


Patter of feet that come and go
With a sweet yet restless will,
Just as they did a month ago,
Ere they grew for ever still.


And my heart, at those spirit-sounds that seem
So near yet so far away,
Glides into the faith of a sweet love-dream,
That follows me night and day.


And this love-dream, tender and ever sweet,
Still whispers soft and low—
'Keep thou in thy heart these tiny feet,
And follow the way they go.'


Then my sorrow sinks down as a leaflet will
When the winds are into their rest;
And I bow with claspèd hands, and still
The footsteps are in my breast.

Submitted: Friday, March 21, 2014

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