Willa Sibert Cather

(1873-1947 / United States)

"Grandmither, Think Not I Forget" - Poem by Willa Sibert Cather

Grandmither, think not I forget, when I come back to town,
An' wander the old ways again, an' tread them up and down.
I never smell the clover bloom, nor see the swallows pass,
Wi'out I mind how good ye were unto a little lass;
I never hear the winter rain a-pelting all night through
Wi'out I think and mind me of how cold it falls on you.
An' if I come not often to your bed beneath the thyme,
Mayhap 't is that I'd change wi' ye, and gie my bed for thine,
   Would like to sleep in thine.

I never hear the summer winds among the roses blow
Wi'out I wonder why it was ye loved the lassie so.
Ye gave me cakes and lollipops and pretty toys a score --
I never thought I should come back and ask ye now for more.
Grandmither, gie me your still white hands that lie upon your breast,
For mine do beat the dark all night and never find me rest;
They grope among the shadows an' they beat the cold black air,
They go seekin' in the darkness, an' they never find him there,
   They never find him there.

Grandmither, gie me your sightless eyes, that I may never see
His own a-burnin' full o' love that must not shine for me.
Grandmither, gie me your peaceful lips, white as the kirkyard snow,
For mine be tremblin' wi' the wish that he must never know.
Grandmither, gie me your clay-stopped ears, that I may never hear
My lad a-singin' in the night when I am sick wi' fear;
A-singin' when the moonlight over a' the land is white --
Ah, God! I'll up and go to him, a-singin' in the night,
   A-callin' in the night.

Grandmither, gie me your clay-cold heart, that has forgot to ache,
For mine be fire wi'in my breast an' yet it cannot break.
Wi' every beat it's callin' for things that must not be, --
So can ye not let me creep in an' rest awhile by ye?
A little lass afeard o' dark slept by ye years agone --
An' she has found what night can hold 'twixt sunset an' the dawn:
So when I plant the rose an' rue above your grave for ye,
Ye'll know it's under rue an' rose that I would like to be,
   That I would like to be.

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Read poems about / on: rose, sunset, sick, night, dark, winter, snow, change, summer, rain, fire, sleep, fear, wind

Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

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