poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“Departed Days” was published in The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes (Osgood & Co., 1877).

Departed Days

Yes, dear departed, cherished days,
   Could Memory’s hand restore
Your morning light, your evening rays
   From Time’s gray urn once more,—
Then might this restless heart be still,
   This straining eye might close,
And Hope her fainting pinions fold,
   While the fair phantoms rose.

But, like a child in ocean’s arms,
   We strive against the stream,
Each moment farther from the shore
   Where life’s young fountains gleam;—
Each moment fainter wave the fields,
   And wider rolls the sea;
The mist grows dark,—the sun goes down,—
Day breaks,—and where are we?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 9, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on August 29, 1809.

by this poet

poem

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;—
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with

poem
I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
      And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o’er 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
poem
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
     Sails the unshadowed main,
     The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
     And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living