I’ve been down to the farm, Charles
Where our eyes first saw the light,
The home of our childhood and boyhood
Where our days began their flight.
With me they are fifty-three years,
To you they are seven less,
Not much in the great eternity;
Any yet we must confess
That if life has a beginning,
And a close to the things of earth,
The years that are fondly cherished,
Are those of childhood mirth.
It was the early days of October,
The fields were in the brown,
The sun was bright, the air was light,
And the leaves were trembling down,
O’er all the hills was autumn.
The vales by its silence wooed.
I walked by the brook, I stood by the spring;
I traversed the fields, the glades, the deep wood.
I gazed on each object,
Not one lost to view,
Thought the thoughts that in boyhood,
Made the days long and few.
The thoughts of a boy are so many
How they scurry away like the wind
Into the deep gloom of the future,
Nor return to embarrass the mind;
Ranging wide, and artless, and free,
Inspiring and moulding the being
That ever is striving to be
The full growth of the man, who must,
In the ranks firmly stand and abide,
Arrest and hold fickle fortune,
What cost or danger betide.
And musing, unconscious, I listened,
Expecting to hear from each nook
A voice from some of those dear ones,
That affection with eagerness took,
And placed where the mind seemed to fancy
They’d be found to welcome and greet
The lad whom they’d cherished and fondled,
And he with man’s strength yearned to meet.
The hush that came o’er my yearning
Was a silence that speaks only to tell
Of the past, and time’s ceaseless changes,
And life’s weakness, and briefness, and knell.
Montgomery concludes this poem to his brother with the closing stanza:
I cannot say that I sorrowed
For that might seem unmanly and weak.
It is nature that produces and reduces,
It is God that gives, e’en to the meek,
The right to the spirit immortal,
And the mind to fathom His will,
And the hope that however we wander
We shall find there’ll be with us still
The spirit of those, our dear kindred,
Who have borne us and we seem to know
And there, by the nooks, so familiar —
The farm and the home long ago.
This is the first poem in the book “The Spirit’s Work” by
Job H. Montgomery.