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Lines To A Friend,

ON REMOVING FROM HER NATIVE VILLAGE.

The golden rays of sunset fall on a snow-clad hill,
As standing by my window I gaze there long and still.
I see a roof and a chimney, and some tall elms standing near,
While the winds that sway their branches bring voices to my ear.

They tell of a darkened hearth-stone, that once shone bright and gay,
And of old familiar faces that have sadly passed away;
How a stranger on the threshold with careless aspect stands,
And gazes on the acres that have passed into his hands.

I shudder, as these voices, so fraught with mournful woe,
Steal on my spirit's hearing, in cadence sad and low,
And think I will not hear them--but, ah! who can control
The gloomy thoughts that enter and brood upon the soul?

So, turning from my window, while darkness deepens round,
And the wailing winds sweep onward with yet more piteous sound,
I feel within my bosom far wilder whirlwinds start,
And sweep the cloudy heaven that bends above my heart.

I have no power to quell them; so let them rage and roar,
The sooner will their raging and fury all be o'er;
I've seen Atlantic's billows 'neath tempests fiercely swell,
But O, the calm succeeding, I have no words to tell!

I think of you, and wonder if you are happy now;
Floats there no shade of sorrow at times across your brow?
When daily tasks are ended, and thought is free to roam,
Doth it not bear you swiftly back to that dear old home?

And then, with wizard fingers, doth Memory open fast
A thrilling panorama of all the changeful past!
Where blending light and shadow skip airy o'er the scene,
Painting in vivid contrast what is and what has been.

And say, does not your mother remember yet with tears
The spot where calm and peaceful have lapsed so many years?
O, would some kindly spirit might give us all to know
How much a tender parent will for a child forego!

We prized your worth while with us; but now you're gone from sight,
We feel 'how blessings brighten while they are taking flight.'
O, don't forget the homestead upon the pleasant hill;
Nor yet the love-lit home you have in all our memories still!

Come, often come to visit the haunts your childhood knew!
We pledge you earnest welcome, unbought, unfeigned and true.
And when before your vision new hopes and pleasure rise,
Turn sometimes with a sunny thought toward your native skies!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:10 min read
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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper born to free parents in Baltimore Maryland was an African American abolitionist and poet more…

All Frances Ellen Watkins Harper poems | Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Books

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    "Lines To A Friend," Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13729/lines-to-a-friend,>.

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