All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/A Year-old Sorrow


A COMMON day, of sun and shade,
To you will come the morrow;
Alas! the August clasping bears
Date of a year-old sorrow,

That trod at first on autumn leaves,
Then peered through Christmas holly,
Went wailing through the snow of March
With plaintive melancholy.

It dimmed the eyes of violets,
Cankered all summer roses,

And shivers as the harvest-moon
The first sad cycle closes.

A year-old sorrow! Still it lives,
Moaning at midnight waking;
It wanders through the twilight gloom,
And weeps with daylight breaking.

It echoes in each boyish voice
With strange, pathetic quiver
Such echo as the rock gives back
That stands across the river.

It clutches at the empty palm
That misses childish fingers;
It listens for a coming step,
And wonders why it lingers.

A year-old sorrow! God knows best
How years, their round completing,
Shall hurry on, till by and by
Shall come that wondrous meeting,

When Sorrow's robe, all stained with tears,
Tattered and soiled and hoary,
Shall flutter off before the breath
That bursts the gate of Glory;

And Shining Ones shall tell us then
That pilgrim robe and fetter
Have purer kept the heavenly dress,
Its brightness guarded better.