Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/331

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AN OLD MAN.

Over yonder sleeps where the wooded slope Lays a smooth cheek down by its rim to cool.

I will look to see if this face of mine

Shall the tale confirm that the children tell ;

No silver tangles my unkempt beard,

And my strong white teeth gnaw a crust full well.

Now I peer out over the mossy rock.

See ! a beggar s rags flutter first in view; Then untended locks like a wild beast s mane,

And the shoulders bent. Childish eyes see true ! For the added "naught " of a beggar s year

Counts for ten, it seems, to the eyes that see Through the morning light. Ah, the school is in, - And the weary road stretches out for me.

Passing close again by the school-house door,

Sounds a blessed word that beguiles the way, As the teacher reads from the Holy Book

All the sweet old tale of the lad astray Of the Father s watch, of the welcome kiss.

He lifts his hat from his forehead bare, And the dusty lips murmur, " If I came

From the country far, would the Father care?"

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