Poems of Childhood/Long Ago

For works with similar titles, see Long Ago.
 

LONG AGO

I ONCE knew all the birds that came
And nested in our orchard trees,
For every flower I had a name,—
My friends were woodchucks, toads, and bees;
I knew where thrived in yonder glen
What plants would soothe a stone-bruised toe—
Oh, I was very learned then,
But that was very long ago.

I knew the spot upon the hill
Where checkerberries could be found,
I knew the rushes near the mill
Where pickerel lay that weighed a pound!
I knew the wood—the very tree
Where lived the poaching, saucy crow,
And all the woods and crows knew me—
But that was very long ago.

And pining for the joys of youth,
I tread the old familiar spot
Only to learn this solemn truth:
I have forgotten, am forgot.
Yet here's this youngster at my knee
Knows all the things I used to know;
To think I once was wise as he!—
But that was very long ago.

I know it's folly to complain
Of whatsoe'er the fates decree,
Yet, were not wishes all in vain,
I tell you what my wish should be:
I'd wish to be a boy again,
Back with the friends I used to know.
For I was, oh, so happy then—
But that was very long ago!