The Open Fire

Edgar Albert Guest

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There in the flame of the open grate,
All that is good in the past I see:
Red-lipped youth on the swinging gate,
Bright-eyed youth with its minstrelsy;
Girls and boys that I used to know,
Back in the days of Long Ago,
Troop before in the smoke and flame,
Chatter and sing, as the wild birds do.
Everyone I can call by name,
For the fire builds all of my youth anew.
Outside, people go stamping by,
Squeak of wheel on the evening air,
Stars and planets race through the sky,
Here are darkness and silence rare;
Only the flames in the open grate
Crackle and flare as they burn up hate,
Malice and envy and greed for gold,
Dancing, laughing my cares away;
I've forgotten that I am old,
Once again I'm a boy at play.
There in the flame of the open grate
Bright the pictures come and go;
Lovers swing on the garden gate,
Lovers kiss 'neath the mistletoe.
I've forgotten that I am old,
I've forgotten my story's told;
Whistling boy down the lane I stroll,
All untouched by the blows of fate,
Time turns back and I'm young of soul,
Dreaming there by the open grate.

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