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The Little Straw Hat

by Appleton Oaksmith

We all of us have our secret hoard
Of things that we cherish and tenderly prize—
Things that are neither of value or rare,
Or for which any one else would care,
Yet priceless to us—and we keep them stored
Far from the sight of all other eyes.

I have one treasure among my store,
Which is dearer than all of the rest to me!
You will smile mayhap with unbelief,
Unless you have had the self-same grief;
For the trifles of those who are no more,
The loved and the lost grow precious to be.

Would you know what it is, so dear to my eyes,
And what so often will make them dim?
For it brings to mind the dear little head
That so long has slept with the loved ones dead,
'Tis nothing—this thing that I so much prize—
But a little straw hat with a ragged brim.

I often unlock the closet door
And bring it tenderly forth to the light;
The ribbon is faded, 'tis torn and old,
But no one could buy it with gold untold;
And many a time on the chamber floor
I have wept and kissed it half the night.

I love it only as a mother can love
The simple things of her little dead;
I prize it as only a mother can prize
The things so worthless in other eyes;
For it symbols the crown that I know above
Covers the little one's head.

With streaming eyes I can often see
The sweet little face in the sunlight glow,
Looking forth from the ragged brim
With the saucy glance so sweet in him,
When he used to romp in the grass with me,
In the summers so long ago.

The little one had his holiday dress,
With a hat that was very fine and grand;
But it never to me was half so dear
As the one I have cherished for many a year,
For my lips the very spot can press
Where 't was torn by the little hand.

I have diamonds rare, and many a gem,
With which sometimes my hair I trim,
When forth in the world I am forced to go,
To mix with the mockery and show:
But there's none that I prize—not all of them—
Like the little straw hat with the ragged brim.

We are told that earth's treasures we must not hoard,
Where moth doth corrupt and rust doth dim;
Yet this is but a memento I love
Of the priceless treasure I have above;
It is not for it my tears are poured—
This little straw hat with the ragged brim.

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