Wandered

A poem by William Arthur Dunkerley

The wind blows shrill along the hill,
--Black is the night and cold--
The sky hangs low with its weight of snow,
And the drifts are deep on the wold.
But what care I for wind or snow?
And what care I for the cold?
Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

The beasts are safely gathered in,
--Black is the night and cold--
They are snug and warm, and safe from harm,
In stall and byre and fold.
And the dogs and I, by the blazing fire,
Care nought for the snow and the cold.
Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

The barns are bursting with their store
Of grain like yellow gold;
A full, fat year has brought good cheer,
--Black is the night and cold.--
But ... What care I for teeming barns?
And what care I for gold?
Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

In the great kitchen, maids and men,
--Black is the night and cold--
Laugh loud and long, with jest and song,
And merry revel hold.
Let them laugh and sing, let them have their fling,
But for me--I am growing old.
Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

The old house moans, and sighs and groans,
--Black is the night and cold--
We have seen brave times, you and I, old friend,
But now--we are growing old.
We have stood foursquare to many a storm,
But now--we are growing old.
Oh ... where is my lamb--
My one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

Her mother sleeps on the hill out there,
--Black is the night and cold,--
She is free from care, she is happier there,
Beneath the warm brown mould.
And I've sometimes hoped they may have met,
And the end of the tale be told.
Ah ... where is our lamb--
Our one ewe lamb--
That strayed from the fold?

Was that a branch that shed its load?
--Black is the night and cold,--
Or--was it a footstep in the snow--
A timid footstep--halting, slow?
Ah me! I am getting old!
Is that a tapping--soft and low?
Can it be ... I thought I heard ... but no,
'Twas only a branch that shed its snow,--
God's truth! I am getting old!
For I thought ... maybe
It was my lamb
Come home again to the fold.

Dear Lord! a hand at the frozen pane!
--White on the night's black cold--
O my lamb! my lamb! are you come again?
My dear lost lamb, are you come again?
Are you come again to the fold?
It is!... It is!... Now I thank Thee, Lord,
For Thy Mercies manifold!
She is come again!
She is home again!
My lamb that strayed from the fold!

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