More Thoughts of Youth


The Swing in the Barn

The swing in the barn is right under the hay-loft,
And when you are swinging, you smell the sweet hay.
You start where the shadows at noon-time still stay soft
And cool, and swing out toward the hot summer day.
And through the wide open and sun-shiny barn-door,
It looks like a picture hung up on a well;
There’s a kind of gold rug on the dusty old barn-floor;
You hold tight above it, for fear you may fall.
I guess it’s like flying. I know that it would be,
If I could keep going and going as high
As birds do. I wonder if up there I could see
The world turning round and the houses go by.

The Band

When the band comes along the street,
Sometimes it does not play. The drum
Monotonously goes tum-tum,
tum pety-tum,
To mark the time for marching feet.
But presently a tiny sound
One trumpet makes: and all around
The music-things are raised, and then,
I know the band will play again.
And suddenly, as thunder comes,
The horns and trumpets, flutes and drums
Crash into glorious noise, that breaks
All over me in little shakes.
And all inside me seems to swell
With feelings that I cannot tell.
And I am glad: I can’t see why
Just then I almost want to cry.
But when the band is out of sight
And I can hear it far away,
It sounds as my tin bandsmen might,
If they could really play.

The Flag

As soon as we are dressed each day,
We raise the Flag before we play.
Jane raises it. She pulls the string.
I shoot the cannon: and we sing
‘America.’ We sing it loud,
And cheer as if we were a crowd.
Then we salute the Flag, and make
A little prayer for Jesus’ sake: —
God bless our Flag
And Soldier Men
Who fight for us
Abroad. Amen.
And after that we feel that we
Can eat our breakfast properly.