Poems of Childhood/Little Homer's Slate

 

LITTLE HOMER'S SLATE

AFTER dear old grandma died,
Hunting through an oaken chest
In the attic, we espied
What repaid our childish quest;
'Twas a homely little slate,
Seemingly of ancient date.

On its quaint and battered face
Was the picture of a cart,
Drawn with all that awkward grace
Which betokens childish art;
But what meant this legend, pray:
"Homer drew this yesterday"?

Mother recollected then
What the years were fain to hide—
She was but a baby when
Little Homer lived and died;
Forty years, so mother said,
Little Homer had been dead.

This one secret through those years
Grandma kept from all apart,
Hallowed by her lonely tears
And the breaking of her heart;
While each year that sped away
Seemed to her but yesterday.

So the homely little slate
Grandma's baby's fingers pressed,
To a memory consecrate,
Lieth in the oaken chest,
Where, unwilling we should know,
Grandma put it, years ago.