The Lime Tree

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

That lime tree on the distant rising ground
(If it was a lime tree) showed her yellow leaves
Above the renewed green of wet August grass--
First Autumn yellow that on first Autumn eves
Too soon was found.

Comfortless lime tree! Scarce an aspen leaf
Like a green butterfly flitted to the ground;
There was no sign of Autumn in the grass.
Even the long garden beds their beauty brief--
Their mignonette,

Nasturtium and sweet-william and red stocks,
And clover crouching in the border grass,
And blood-like fuschia, eve's primrose and white phlox
And honeysuckle--waved all their smell and hue
Morn and eve anew.

But that far lime tree yellowing by the oak,
Warning oak, elm and poplar and each fresh tree
Shaking in the south wind delightedly,
And clover in the closeness of the grass,
Warns also me.

And now when all the trees are standing still
Beneath the purple and white of the west sky,
And time is standing still--as stand it will--
That early yellowing lime with palsied fingers
Cannot be still.

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