Down by the end of the lane it stands,
Where the sumac grows in a crimson thatch,
Down where the sweet wild berry patch,
Holds out a lure for eager hands.
Down at the end of the lane, who knows
The ghosts that sit at the well-scarred seats,
When the moon is dark, and the gray sky meets
With the dawn time light, and a chill wind blows?
Ghosts--well not ghosts, perhaps, but dreams--
Rather like wistful shades, that stand
Waiting a look or an outstretched hand,
To call them back where the morning gleams--
Dreams of the hopes we had, that died,
Dreams of the vivid youth we sold;
Dreams of a pot of rainbow gold--
Gold that we sought for, eager-eyed!
Dreams of the plans we made, that sleep
With the lesson books on the dusty rack,
Of the joyous years that will not come back--
That are drowned in the tears we have learned to weep.
Ghosts did I call them! Sweet they are
As a plant that grows in a desert place,
Sweet as a dear remembered face--
Sweet as a pale, courageous star.
Where the sumac grows in a flaming wall,
It stands, at the end of a little lane,
And there do the children come again,
Answering, still, the bell's shrill call,
Just as we came, with their songs unsung,
And their hopes all new, and their dreams dew kissed,
Brave as the sun in a land of mist-- Just as we came when the world was young!