An Old Picture

THERE are times when a dream delicious
Steals into a musing hour,
Like a face with love capricious
That peeps from a woodland bower;
And one dear scene comes changeless;
A wooded hill and a river;
A deep, cool bend, where the lilies end,
And the elm-tree shadows quiver.

And I lie on the brink there, dreaming
That the life I live is a dream;
That the real is but the seeming,
And the true is the sun-flecked stream.
Beneath me, the perch and the bream sail past
In the dim cool depths of the river;
The struggling fly breaks the mirrored sky
And the elm-tree shadows quiver.

There are voices of children away on the hill;
There are bees thro' the flag-flowers humming;
The lighter-man calls to the lock, and the mill
On the farther side is drumming.
And I sink to sleep in my dream of a dream,
In the grass by the brink of a river,
Where the voices blend and the lilies end
And the elm-tree shadows quiver.

Like a gift from the past is the kindly dream,
For the sorrow and passion and pain
Are adrift like the leaves on the breast of the stream,
And the child-life comes again.
O, the sweet sweet pain of a joy that died—
Of a pain that is joy forever!
O, the life that died in the stormy tide
That was once my sun-flecked river.

by John Boyle O'Reilly

Other poems of O'REILLY (150)

Comments (15)

as this poem begins using the phrase woodland bower, i think at first old fashioned. but right after with his description of the scene he returns to in memory, i definitely relate. i see no real confusion in O'Reilly in what is truly dream or memory and what is current reality. he speaks eloquently, however, to the importance of remembering for our perspective and sanity. -gk
That the life I live is a dream...
Beautiful thoughts woven into the rhyme and rhythm of this poem - fantastic
excellently written - O, the sweet sweet pain of a joy that died— Of a pain that is joy forever! O, the life that died in the stormy tide That was once my sun-flecked river. greatly penned whole with imagery
Great imagery mixed with a touch of sadness! Great poem!
See More