cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Poet Appreciation #10: Abraham Lincoln


We associate Abraham Lincoln with the Civil War, tall silk hats, a famous speech, a humble man with a distinctive beard, a day off in February, and the sadness that comes when great people are struck down too soon. Connecting our sixteenth president to poetry doesn’t usually pop up in the usual sixty-second classroom brainstorm activity.  And yet, here is proof Honest Abe had so much more to him than we give him credit for.

image: history.com

My Childhood Home I See Again
by Abraham Lincoln

My childhood home I see again,

And sadden with the view;

And still, as memory crowds my brain,

There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world

‘Twixt earth and paradise,

Where things decayed and loved ones lost

In dreamy shadows rise, 

 

And, freed from all that’s earthly vile, 

Seem hallowed, pure, and bright, 

Like scenes in some enchanted isle 

All bathed in liquid light. 

 

As dusky mountains please the eye 

When twilight chases day; 

As bugle-notes that, passing by, 

In distance die away; 

 

As leaving some grand waterfall, 

We, lingering, list its roar– 

So memory will hallow all 

We’ve known, but know no more. 

 

Near twenty years have passed away 

Since here I bid farewell 

To woods and fields, and scenes of play, 

And playmates loved so well. 

 

Where many were, but few remain 

Of old familiar things; 

But seeing them, to mind again 

The lost and absent brings. 

 

The friends I left that parting day, 

How changed, as time has sped! 

Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray, 

And half of all are dead. 

 

I hear the loved survivors tell 

How nought from death could save, 

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