Looking Back

I sometimes think I'm slipping
Or maybe growing old,
When slow the warmth of springtime
Dispels the winter's cold.
And memories of yesterday
Are bright and clear and keen;
But recent happenings are dim,
As through a mist are seen.

I see the old home as it stood
When I was but a boy;
When homely ways provided
An ever present joy.
The livestock and the growing grain
All sprang from the good earth;
And chained my fancy then and now,
The mystery of birth.

The apple-orchard to the east,
The red and golden fruit;
The cherries rip'ning on the trees,
The jaybird's juicy loot.
The garden where the rhubarb grew,
Asparagus and beans,
And ah the thrill deep in my heart,
With Mother boiling greens.

The water in Mosquito Creek,
Deliberate and slow;
And oft I wondered, "Where, oh where
Did all that water go".
The catfish biting in the shade
Down 'neath the tangled drift
That lay secure by the old footlog;
E'en now I get a lift -

For memories of Mother there,
The fishworms' wriggling crooks;
And my amazement then and now.
She never lost her hooks.
Just to the west of the fallen tree,
The big boys solemn role
To plumb the depth of the waters deep
Of that "Old Swimmin' Hole".

The thrills on thrills when first I found,
(For adjectives I grope)
The priceless arrow-heads, and rare,
Out west upon the slope.
The flintrocks lying there exposed,
It was a wondrous life
When great, big, liquid sparks of fire
Were struck by Dad's old knife.

The rolling fields across the road
Were landscaped to the south;
The great dewberries by the hedge
For boyhood's ardent mouth.
The pond just south and. to the east,
A special sort of bog;
And Springtime ev'nings pulsing with
The music of the frogs.

But as the sun sank in the west,
And came the ev'ning breeze
With mottled. shadows on the grass
Beneath the maple trees:
And pickets standing at salute,
And ever prim and white,
And mounting guard as sentinels
As came the summer night.

How, as I step into the rooms
Where as a lad I stood;
And. often pondered. questions deep
'Tween evil and the good.
And. now I know, far, far away
Are the yesterdays I knew;
But firm and. steadfast in my heart,
The old 'twined with the new.

My memories, both pain and. joy
Were taken in our stride;
For at the helm our parents stood,
Our course to chart and guide.
Not one of' us has scaled the heights
As others may have done,
Nor sunk to dark and dismal depths:
Yet, vict'ries we have won.

And now, today, the years have gone.
Life holds few mysteries.
A living Present in our hearts,
We've more than memories.
We've lived our lives. The time not long
For making history;
With numbered days soon you and I
Will be a memory.

But Brothers, Sisters don't forget,
That short or long our way,
We have a glorious Present.
Thank God, we have Today.
We've brought down with us through the years
A faith to hold, to cheer;
And see the smiling face of God;
Tomorrow shining clear.

H. B. Austin