The Grate Fire
I'm sorry for a fellow if he cannot look and see
In a grate fire's friendly flaming all the joys which used to be.
If in quiet contemplation of a cheerful ruddy blaze
He sees nothing there recalling all his happy yesterdays,
Then his mind is dead to fancy and his life is bleak and bare,
And he's doomed to walk the highways that are always thick with care.
When the logs are dry as tinder and they crackle with the heat,
And the sparks, like merry children, come a-dancing round my feet,
In the cold, long nights of autumn I can sit before the blaze
And watch a panorama born of all my yesterdays.
I can leave the present burdens and that moment's bit of woe,
And claim once more the gladness of the bygone long ago.
There are no absent faces in the grate fire's merry throng;
No hands in death are folded, and no lips are stilled to song.
All the friends who were are living—like the sparks that fly about;
They come romping out to greet me with the same old merry shout,
Till it seems to me I'm playing once again on boyhood's stage,
Where there's no such thing as sorrow and there's no such thing as age.
I can be the care-free schoolboy! I can play the lover, too!
I can walk through Maytime orchards with the old sweetheart I knew;
I can dream the glad dreams over, greet the old familiar friends
In a land where there's no parting and the laughter never ends.
All the gladness life has given from a grate fire I reclaim,
And I'm sorry for the fellow who can only see the flame.