John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

The Old School Clock - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

'Twas a quaint old clock with a quaint old face,
and great iron weights and chain.
It stopped when it liked, and before it struck
it creaked as if 'twere in pain.
It had seen many years, and it seemed to say,
'I'm one of the real old stock',
To the youthful fry, who with reverence looked
on the face of the old school clock.
What a terrible frown did the old clock wear
to the truant who timidly cast
An anxious eye on those merciless hands,
that for him had been moving too fast!
But its frown soon changed, for it loved to smile
on the thoughtless, noisy flock,
And it creaked and whirred, and struck with glee,
Did that genial, good humoured old clock.
Well, years had passed, and my mind was filled
with the world, its cares and ways,
When again I stood in that little school
where I passed my boyhood days.
My old friend was gone! And there hung a thing
that my sorrow seemed to mock,
As I gazed with a tear and a softened heart
at a new-fashioned Yankee clock.

'Tis the way of the world. Old friends pass away
and fresh faces arise in their stead.
But still 'mid the din and bustle of life
we cherish fond thoughts of the dead.
Yes, dearly those memories cling round my heart,
and bravely withstand Time's rude shock;
But not one is more dear or more hallowed to me
than the face of that old school clock.


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2012



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