"ABSENT FRIENDS!" - William Oldys Poems


Poems » william oldys » absent friends!


“Absent Friends!” There are brought to mind again
The scent of the buddah-bush after the rain;
The dawn in the eastward, the death of the stars,
The wet grass that reaches the cold stirrup bars;
The beat of the horse-hoofs that waken the day;
The jest and the laughter that shorten the way!

        So Past with Present gaily blends,
                  And merrily, with three times three,
        We drink to “Absent Friends!”

“Absent Friends!” How those words in a wondrous wise
Can conjure the lovelight in beautiful eyes;
The sound of her voice that was tender and sweet,
The trail of her robes and the fall of her feet;
The moods that could move us to joy or to tears
In the Love of our youth in the long-ago years!

        And each one now his greeting sends,
                  As earnestly, with three times three,
        We toast our “Absent Friends!”

“Absent Friends!” -- And a home that is over the sea;
White snow on the uplands, white rime on the tree;
The faces we cherish, whate’er be our lot;
The clasp of the hands will be never forgot;
The friends of our boyhood who gather and pass
In the misty reflection of Memory’s glass!

        Our heart across the ocean wends,
                  And loyally, with three times three,
        We toast our “Absent Friends!”

“Absent Friends!” -- The lost legion that lies in the grave;
The friends who were false and the friends we forgave, --
Whose words had the edge of the enemy’s knife,
To torture the heart and to poison the life; --
The friends who lay dying and never could know
That we loved at the last as we loved long ago!

        So each across his wine-cup bends,
                  And silently, and tearfully,
        We pledge our “Absent Friends!”