Robert Kirkland Kernighan

(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

The Man Who Hasn'T Got A Job - Poem by Robert Kirkland Kernighan

Where willows flickered their shadows down

On our blistered backs and our faces brown ;

Where all day long in the sunny weather,

When you and I were boys together,

We plunged and splashed in the friendly pond

In the lilied pond of the Long Ago.

Around its banks were deep, green masses,

That lifted and flourished their banners high ;
Its face, wherever unshaded by grasses,

Photographed glimpses of cloud and sky ;
And there, when the evenings were long and sweet,
We hurried and raced with eager feet,
And laughed and shouted, or yelled and pouted,
When our shirts were knotted, or mine was flouted,
As we dipped and splashed in the waters sweet,
In the lilied pond of the Long Ago.

My breast is full with a heavy sigh

When I think of its waters so calm and cool,

And I think of the days when you and I
Stole out as truants away from school,

To leap and to run in the summer sun,

And muddy each other up, just for fun ;

To hark for the bull frog's sudden hush,
As we caught the water with bound and rush,
And splashed till our bodies were all aglow
In the lilied pond of the Long Ago.

But the lilied pond of the Long Ago
Is lost and gone, and its bed is dry ;

No more, as once in the long ago,

Will it catch the lights of a summer sky.

I looked with grief at its empty bed,

And felt that a dear old friend was dead ;

No waters there but the tears that fell

From eyes that always had loved it well ;

I looked my last, for I prized it so

The lilied pond of the Long Ago.

The hopes we cherished when we were young ;

Our youthful loves so fresh and fond ;
The songs we relished are now unsung ;

Our hearts are dry as the dear old pond.
Our hopes are as dead as its old cat-tails,
Our lives as bruised as our dinner pails ;
But we, as into the future we grope,
Can live for the better and always hope,
And flower our hearts with the hopeful glow
That flowered the pond of the Long Ago.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 12, 2012



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