All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Fire-Proof

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FIRE-PROOF.


THERE'S a house burned down!
 Only, gaunt and black,
Stands the smoky shaft
 Of the chimney-stack;
And the fireplace small,
 Where we sat together,
Cannot hide us now
 From the wind and weather.
But the twilight talk
 And the childish chat
By yon blistered hearth,—
 What can burn up that?

All the tender dreams
 Over hands entwined;

All the parting words
 Of the souls now shrined;
All the faces turned
 To the firelight red—
Faces furrowed now
 By the Reaper's tread;
All the cradle songs
 To the babies sung;
All the girlish mirth
 On its embers flung,
As a gay good-night
 Promised glad good-morrow,
And the happy sleep
 Had no waking sorrow.

Ah! the falling wall
 And the flame's hot breath
Has for these no doom—
 Has for these no death.

There's a fire-proof safe
 None can mar or make,
Where we keep them close,
 For their own dear sake.

So the house may burn,
 And the chimney fall;
In our hearts they lie,
 Safe and guarded all.