Poem of the day

The Old School Clock
by John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890)

Old memories rush o’er my mind just now
⁠      Of faces and friends of the past;
Of that happy time when life’s dream was all bright,
⁠      E’er the clear sky of youth was o’ercast.

Very dear are those mem’ries,—they’ve clung round my heart.
⁠      And bravely withstood time’s rude shock;
But not one is more hallowed or dear to me now
⁠      Than the face of the Old School Clock.

’Twas a quaint old clock with a quaint old face,
⁠      And great iron weights and chain;
It stopped when it liked,—and before it struck
⁠      It creaked as if ’twere in pain;

It had seen many years, and it seemed to say,
⁠      —“I’m one of the real old stock,”
To the youthful fry, who with reverence looked
⁠      On the face of the Old School Clock.

How many a time have I labored to sketch
⁠      That yellow and time-honored face,
With its basket of flowers, its figures and hands,
⁠      And the weights and the chains in their place!

How oft have I gazed with admiring eye.
⁠      As I sat on the wooden block.
And pondered and guessed at the wonderful things
⁠      That were inside that Old School Clock!

What a terrible frown did the old clock wear
      To the truant, who timidly cast
⁠An anxious eye on those merciless hands,
      That for him had been moving too fast!

But it lingered not long, for it loved to smile
⁠      On the thoughtless, noisy flock,
And it creaked and whirred and struck with glee,—
⁠      Did that genial, good-humored old clock.

Well, years had passed, and my mind was filled
⁠      With the world, its cares and ways.
When again I stood in that little school
⁠      Where I passed my boyhood’s days.

My old friend was gone! and there hung a thing
⁠      That my sorrow seemed to mock.
As I gazed with a tear and a softened heart
⁠      At a new-fashioned German clock.

’Twas a gaudy thing with bright-painted sides,
⁠      And it looked with insolent stare
On the desks and the seats and oh everything old
⁠      And I thought of the friendly air—

Of the face that I missed, with its weights and chains,—
⁠      All gone to the auctioneer’s block:
’Tis a thing of the past,—never more shall I see
⁠      But in mem’ry that Old School Clock.

’Tis the way of the world: old friends pass away.
⁠      And fresh faces arise in their stead;
But still ’mid the din and the bustle of life
⁠      We cherish fond thoughts of the dead.

Yes, dear are those memories—they’ve cling round my heart,
⁠      And bravely withstand Time’s rude shock;
But not one is more dear or more hallowed to me
⁠      Than the face of that Old School Clock.

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