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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


When the beautiful mountain ash is turning--
   As lovely a sight as the eyes desire;
When the leaves of the sumac bush are burning,
   Like the steady flame of a winter fire;
When the weeds by the roadside all grow golden,
   When maples are glowing and asters gleam,
It is then that the new is changed to the olden,
   And back to my heart comes the past like a dream.

Like a mirage I see the blue haze oer me,
   The City of Youth that I left behind.
Oh! whitely its turrets are gleaming before me,
   And out of the window lean faces kind.
And I hear the echo of jubilant voices;
   There are cheeks of beauty and eyes of truth:
And every pulse in my heart rejoices--
   Theres no other place like the City of Youth.

And lo! the City is full of splendour,
   And a voice in my soul breaks into song.
Yes, a passionate love, as fair as tender,
   Creeps out of the grave where it slept so long.
As the strings of a harp by winds are shaken,
   To endless music my heart is stirred,
When my name is breathed and my hand is taken,
   Though I cannot utter a single word.

But with souls that are full of the beautiful weather,
   And the perfect peace that has no name,
Under the autumn skies together
   We stray, by the sumacs all aflame.
And the forest flushes to fuller glory:
   Brighter glow asters and golden rod,
As eye unto eye tells the old, old story,
   And the sunlight seems like the smile of God.

Alone I stand and sorrowful hearted;
   The dead leaves fall in the chilly wind.
The mirage is fled, and the glory departed,
   And the City of Youth is far behind.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Forty-Eight
  3. Artist and Man
  4. As by Fire
  5. But a Dream

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Christina Rossetti Mirage ("The hope I dreamed of was a dream")
  • Amy Lowell Mirage ("How is it that, being gone, you fill my days")

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