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The Last Leaf

Oliver Wendell Holmes

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door;
And again

The pavement-stones resound
As he totters o'er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of time
Cut him down,

Not a better man was found
By the crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
So forlorn;

And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
"They are gone."

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he had pressed
In their bloom;

And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said --
Poor old lady! she is dead
Long ago --

That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow.

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff;

And a crook is in his back,
And the melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here,

But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, -- and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,

Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

Home :: Poetry :: Ghosts of Pain (6) :: The Last Leaf

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