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Collected Poems

Wandering Willie's Song

Wandering Willie's Song

Parting they say is such sweet sorrow
that there's never a lad lifts up his pack
and takes to the hills, but a hundred voices
cry to him softly, calling him back.

And I know when I rode under the lilacs
and out of the gate, the eastern way,
taking the road and vagabond's luck
for good or ill, for a year or a day,

I was sick with the longing in my heart
for the green garden, and my little room;
I would have given my horse and bridle
for one last look at the cherry in bloom.

And even now, on a wild spring night
when the rain has ceased, I wake sometimes
from a dream of children playing in a garden
by an old grey wall where nasturtium climbs

I was too young to be living on memories,
too old to be happy the way I'd known:
so I shut my heart against the crying voices
and lifted my head, and rode forth alone.

But oh, when I pass from the light of the sun
let no slight memory, no scent nor savour
of the things I loved go with me then,
or I shall be restless in my grave forever.