The Anniversary

"This bunch of violets," he said,
"Is for my daughter dear.
Since that glad morn when she was wed
It is today a year.
She lives atop this flight of stairs--
Please give an arm to me:
If we can take her unawares
How glad she'll be!"

We climbed the stairs; the flight was four,
Our steps were stiff and slow;
But as he reached his daughter's door
His eyes were all aglow.
Joylike he raised his hand to knock,
Then sore distressed was I,
For from the silence like a shock
I heard a cry.

A drunken curse, a sob of woe . . .
His withered face grew grey.
"I think," said he, "we'd better go
And come another day."
And as he went a block with me,
Walking with weary feet,
His violets, I sighed to see,
Bestrewed the street.

by Robert William Service

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