Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

The Old Piano - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

In the twilight, in the twilight,
Sounding softly, sounding low,
Float some cadences enchanted,
Eerie songs of long ago.

In the gloaming, in the gloaming,
Sits our child with lips apart
Near her mother who is singing,
Near the woman of my heart.

O how thinly, O how feebly
Rings the ancient instrument!
When it opened, slowly yielding,
What a weird, unwonted scent!

Plaining wildered all forlornly,
As it were surprised from death;
On a plate of faded ivory
Some lost name faint wavereth.

Wildered sorely, wildered sorely,
In oblivion mouldering,
To be challenged now for music
That the dead were wont to sing!

Are they rising, are they rising,
As I gaze through mist of tears,
In the savour, in the music,
Vanished visions of the years?

Stilly stealing, stilly stealing,
Glide the dead in companies;
Thinly flow their words and laughter,
Faintly radiant their eyes.

And they mingle, lo! they mingle,
With my living wife and child,
Seem to thrust them from their places
And confuse their presence mild.

See a maiden, a fair maiden,
Vestured in a garb of yore,
Singing yonder while her lover
Pleads with longing eyes for more!

Then a mother, a young mother,
With her child, in guise of eld,
She appears; full blown to woman
Now the maid whom I beheld.

Then a widow, a grey widow,
See her now! before he died
Love lay withered - worn and faded,
Lo! she plays where played the bride.

. . . . In a moan of wind they vanish,
Dead and living; I alone
Hear old Time insanely mumble
In the sea's low monotone!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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