I listened by the doorstep as the evening shadows fell,
While from the distance floated the faint tinklings of a bell,
The night hawk circled overhead then dropped straight down below,
The same as when I first lived there, in childhood, long ago.
The trees have grown much taller in the yard where once I played,
And now looked so majestic in their summer robes arrayed;
And near the walk the lilacs flung their fragrance to the air
The lilacs that my darling mother planted for us there.
Ah, yes, what tender memories are forced on us again,
Who leave our home in boyhood days and then return grown men;
To seek again the playgrounds which in youth we loved so well,
The shade beneath the apple tree, the old pump at the well,
The woodpile, and the cellar door, the dear old blacksmith shop,
The granary that held the corn with martin box on top.
But dearer than the playgrounds was the perfume in the air,
From those dear lilac bushes that my mother planted there.
Oh, sweet and fragrant lilac, the one she loved so well,
Thy fragrance brings to memory sad thoughts I cannot tell;
Sweet lullabies of childhood sung at the evening rest,
By mother clasping closely the one she loved the best.
A voice that gently whispered sweet words of love to me,
A face so kind and gentle, a heart with love so free;
Still yet my heart throbs feel them, still yet I see them there,
When lilacs that she planted with fragrance fill the air.