Day 236 2/16/14: A Sad Poem by Abraham Lincoln

I’ve never read an Abe Lincoln poem before, but I found this one really moving.

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My Childhood Home I See Again

My childhood home I see again,

And sadden with the view;

And still, as memory crowds my brain,

There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world

‘Twixt earth and paradise,

Where things decayed and loved ones lost

In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that’s earthly vile,

Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,

Like scenes in some enchanted isle

All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye

When twilight chases day;

As bugle-notes that, passing by,

In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,

We, lingering, list its roar–

So memory will hallow all

We’ve known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away

Since here I bid farewell

To woods and fields, and scenes of play,

And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain

Of old familiar things;

But seeing them, to mind again

The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,

How changed, as time has sped!

Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,

And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell

How nought from death could save,

Till every sound appears a knell,

And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,

And pace the hollow rooms,

And feel (companion of the dead)

I’m living in the tombs.

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2 thoughts on “Day 236 2/16/14: A Sad Poem by Abraham Lincoln

  1. For some reason this post reminded me of an essay in the current New Yorker: “This Old Man” by Roger Angell. Both are very beautiful and both brutally honest.

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