“But I will give away my own.
Lord, Lord, wilt Thou not see?
Let Thou her road to Paradise
This way be eased by me.”
All night alone by brier and stone
I ran that road unshod,
So I might know instead of her
The pains that lead to God.
When next she came for a brief space
She tarried at my side,
So happy was she in that place,
So glad that she had died.
“The last night that I roamed,” she said,
“Some one had gone before.
I followed where those feet had led,
And found it rough no more.
“And then I came to a good place,
So kind, so dear are they
I may not come again,” and so
She smiled and went away.
Dear Christ, Who died to save us all,
Who trod the ways so cold and wild,
The love of Mary in thy heart
Did let me ease my child.
She may not leave the place of bliss,
I may not touch her hands and hair,
But every night I touch and kiss
The shoes she used to wear.
O listen for her step when the fire burns hollow
When the low fire whispers and the white ash sinks,
When all about the chamber shadows troop and follow
As drowsier yet the hearth’s red watchlight blinks.
While bare black night through empty casements staring
Waits to storm the wainscot till the fire lies dead,
Fast along the snowbound waste little feet are faring—
Hush and listen—listen—but never turn your head.
Leave the door upon the latch—she could
never reach it—
You would hear her crying, crying there till break of day,
Out on the cold moor ’mid the snows that bleach it,
Weeping as once in the long years past away.
Lean deeper in the settle-corner lest she find you—
Find and grow fearsome, too afraid to stay:
Do you hear the hinge of the oaken press behind you?
There all her toys were kept, there she used to play.
Do you hear the light, light foot, the faint sweet
Happy stir and murmur of a child that plays:
Slowly the darkness creeps up from floor to rafter,
Slowly the fallen snow covers all the ways.
Falls as it once fell on a tide past over,
Golden the hearth glowed then, bright the windows shone;
And still, she comes through the sullen drifts above her
Home to the cold hearth though all the lights are gone.
Far or near no one knew—none would now
Where she wandered no one knew—none will ever know;
Somewhere Spring must give her flowers, somewhere white December
Calls her from the moorland to her playthings through the snow.
They are my laddie’s hounds
That rin the wood at brak o’ day.
Wha is it taks them hence? Can ony say
Wha is it taks my laddie’s hounds
At brak o’ day?