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My Playmates

From The Birmingham Age Herald, September 13, 1913. By Eugene Field.

The wind comes whispering to me of the country green and cool—
Of red wing blackbirds chattering beside a reedy pool;
It brings me soothing fancies of the homestead on the hill,
And I hear the thrush’s evening song and the robin’s morning trill,
So I fall to thinking tenderly of those I used to know
Where the sassafras and snakeroot and checkerberries grow.

What has become of Ezra Marsh, who lived on Baker’s Hill?
And what’s become of Noble Pratt, whose father kept the mill?
And what’s become of Lizzie Crum and Anastasia Snell,
And of Roxie Root, who ‘tended school in Boston for a spell?
They are the boys and they are the girls who shared my youthful play—
They do not answer to my call! My playmates—where are they?

What has become of Levi and his little brother Joe,
Who lived next door to where we lived some forty years ago?
I’d like to see the Newton boys and Quincy Adams Brown,
And Hepsy Hall and Ella Cowles, who spelled the whole school down!
And Gracie Smith, the Cutler boys, Leander Snow and all,
Who I am sure would answer could they only hear my call!

I’d like to see Bill Warner and the Conkey boys again,
And talk about the times we used to wish that we were men!
And one—I shall not name her—could I see her gentle face
And hear her girlish treble in this distant, lonely place!
The flowers and hopes of springtime—they perished long ago,
And the garden where they blossomed is white with winter snow.

O cottage ‘neath the maples, have you seen those girls and boys
That but a little while ago made, Oh! such pleasant noise?
O trees, and hills, and brooks, and lanes, and meadows, do you know
Where I shall find my little friends of forty years ago?
You see I’m old and weary, and I’ve traveled long and far;
I am looking for my playmates—I wonder where they are?

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