Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poems by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Old Ironsides
The Chambered Nautilus
Related Poems
Hamlet, Act III, Scene III [Oh my offence is rank]
by William Shakespeare
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
by Thomas Gray
Mortality
by William Knox
Thanatopsis
by William Cullen Bryant
The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III [excerpt]
by George Gordon Byron
A Man's A Man For A' That
by Robert Burns
My Childhood Home I See Again
by Abraham Lincoln
Related Prose
Presidential Picks: Abraham Lincoln's Favorite Poetry
A Brief Guide to the Fireside Poets
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

The Last Leaf

 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
      And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters oer the ground
      With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
      Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
      Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And looks at all he meets
      Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
      "They are gone."

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
      In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
      On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said—
Poor old lady, she is dead
      Long ago—
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
      In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
      Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
      In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
      At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
      Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
      In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
      Where I cling.



Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.