Monday, May 14, 2012

the last leaf - oliver wendell holmes

The Last Leaf
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
     And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o'er the ground
     With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
     Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
     Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
     Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
     "They are gone."

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
     In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
     On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said--
Poor old lady, she is dead
     Long ago--
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
     In the snow.

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
     Like a staff,
And a crook in his back,
And a melancholy crack
     In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
     At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
     Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
     In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
     Where I cling.

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