What I Have Seen #1



I saw a mother give wine to her boy-
The rain-drops fall and fall:
The pride of his parents, a household joy,
A mother's blessing, her all.

I saw the cheek of the youth grow red-
The rain falls over the lea:
The light of his eye shone like jewels, they said:
It spoke of ruin to me.

I saw the youth drink again and again-
The rain falls heavy and fast:
I saw the mother's brow furrowed with pain,
She was reaping her harvest at last.

I saw the youth go staggering by-
The rain-drops beat and beat:
Dulled was the light of his beautiful eye;
I saw him fall in the street.

I heard the rabble cry, 'Shame! oh! shame!'
The rain-drops sob and sob:
I heard the drunkard's once-honored name
Shouted aloud by the mob.

I saw the youth carried home to his door-
The rain-drops sob and sigh:
Saw the friends shun him, who sought him before,
Saw him sink lower, and die.

I saw the stone that bore only his name-
The rain-drops mutter and rave:
I saw the mother with sorrow and shame
Bowed to the brink of the grave.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:00 min read
110

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABAB CDCD XEXE FGFG HIHI JFJF HKHK
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 984
Words 199
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet. more…

All Ella Wheeler Wilcox poems | Ella Wheeler Wilcox Books

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1 Comment
  • davidb
    This poignant poem vividly captures the tragic descent of a once-promising youth into the clutches of alcoholism. The carefully chosen words paint a powerful narrative of the destructive impact of addiction on both the individual and those who care about them. The use of nature's elements, like rain, skillfully mirrors the emotional turbulence and sorrow woven into the verses. The poem skillfully unfolds the narrative, evoking empathy and prompting reflection on the consequences of such choices. The tragic arc, from youthful promise to despair, is both heartrending and thought-provoking, leaving a lasting impression on the reader. 
    LikeReply4 months ago

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"What I Have Seen #1" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 May 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/10983/what-i-have-seen-#1>.

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