The Tree In The Tenement Yard

A poem by Michael Earls

(For T. A. Daly)


America, Ireland and Italy,
All have known this poor old tree.

* * *

A rickety fence goes round the yard
And the noisy streets stand high:
The grassless ground is brown and hard,
And the cinder pathways, lined with shard,
Sees but a bit of sky.

Once the yard was fertile and fair,
And lilac bushes near:
And a Yankee counted with fretful care,
Under the solacing shadows there,
The gain of every year.

The crowded walls of trade arose
And gloomed the avenue:
But a Munster man at each day's close
Built in the tree his hope's rainbows,
And saw his dreams come true.

The years have thickened the darkened air,
But the tree is still on guard:
It comforts the young Italian there,
Who sees the future blossoming fair
From the tree in the tenement yard.

* * *

America, Ireland and Italy
All have loved this poor old tree.

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