To E. H. K.
ON THE RECEIPT OF A FAMILIAR POEM
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
To me, like hauntings of a vagrant breath
From some far forest which I once have known,
The perfume of this flower of verse is blown.
Tho' seemingly soul-blossoms faint to death,
Naught that with joy she bears e'er withereth.
So, tho' the pregnant years have come and flown,
Lives come and gone and altered like mine own,
This poem comes to me a shibboleth:
Brings sound of past communings to my ear,
Turns round the tide of time and bears me back
Along an old and long untraversed way;
Makes me forget this is a later year,
Makes me tread o'er a reminiscent track,
Half sad, half glad, to one forgotten day!