The Child At The Gate

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The sunset was a sleepy gold,
And stars were in the skies
When down a weedy lane he strolled
In vague and thoughtless wise.

And then he saw it, near a wood,
An old house, gabled brown,
Like some old woman, in a hood,
Looking toward the town.

A child stood at its broken gate,
Singing a childish song,
And weeping softly as if Fate
Had done her child's heart wrong.

He spoke to her:"Now tell me, dear,
Why do you sing and weep?"
But she she did not seem to hear,
But stared as if asleep.

Then suddenly she turned and fled
As if with soul of fear.
He followed; but the house looked dead,
And empty many a year.

The light was wan: the dying day
Grew ghostly suddenly:
And from the house he turned away,
Wrapped in its mystery.

They told him no one dwelt there now:
It was a haunted place.
And then it came to him, somehow,
The memory of a face.

That child's like hers, whose name was Joy
For whom his heart was fain:
The face of her whom, when a boy,
He played with in that lane.

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