The roads that from my childhood's home led out,
As seasons changed, were paved with dust or snow;
And in the summer bordered all about
With unkept grasses and wild weeds ablow.
I can recall the early ride to town,
One soft spring morning in the month of May
(The promised purchase of my Sunday gown
Lent mystery and glory to the day).
And I recall the feeling even yet,
Which stole upon me as we neared the place
Where country roads with city pavements met,
For there life seemed to show a fairer face.
The gala windows of the tempting store,
The throngs of people moving on and on--
I loved the sight of these, but loved still more
The vernal splendour of each close-cut lawn.
Down to the very street from each abode
They stretched their lovely lengths, block after block--
A comely contrast to the dusty road
And weedy wilds where I was wont to walk.
They lay like velvet carpets, soft and bright,
Spread for the feet of Beauty and Repose,
My unformed mind was moved by pure delight,
And something sweet and tender in me rose.
A vision, nebulous and indistinct,
Lifted my fancy to a world ideal,
Where earth and fairy-land were interlinked.
And all the "might be's" of this life were real,
And where the country places all were towns,
With gala windows filled with what we seek,
Where little children worse their Sunday gowns,
And danced on emerald lawns through all the week.
So in her wonder-house of beauteous wares,
Which Life has shown to me, a green lawn seems
Like tapestries thrown over flights of stairs,
On which I mounted to my world of dreams.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Drawing by T.D.Skidmore
Nashs & Pall Mall Magazine (April 1917)
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