IF the bird knew how through the wintry weather
An empty nest would swing by day and night,
It would not weave the strands so close together
Or sing for such delight.
And if the rosebud dreamed e'er its awaking
How soon its perfumed leaves would drift apart,
Perchance 'twould fold them close to still the aching
Within its golden heart.
If the brown brook that hurries through the grasses
Knew of drowned sailors–and of storms to be–
Methinks 'twould wait a little e'er it passes
To meet the old grey sea.
If youth could understand the tears and sorrow,
The sombre days that age and knowledge bring,
It would not be so eager for the morrow
Or spendthrift of the spring.
If love but learned how soon life treads its measure,
How short and swift its hours when all is told,
Each kiss and tender word 'twould count and treasure,
As misers count their gold.