LibriVox volunteers bring you 11 recordings of Departed Days by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). This was the Weekly Poetry project for May 8 – May 15th, 2011.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was an American physician, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the “Breakfast-Table” series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). He is recognized as an important medical reformer.
1830 proved to be an important year for Holmes as a poet; while disappointed by his law studies, he began writing poetry for his own amusement. Before the end of the year, he had produced over fifty poems, contributing twenty-five of them (all unsigned) to The Collegian, a short-lived publication started by friends from Harvard. Four of these poems would ultimately become among his best-known: “The Dorchester Giant”, “Reflections of a Proud Pedestrian”, “Evening / By a Tailor” and “The Height of the Ridiculous”. Nine more of his poems were published anonymously in the 1830 pamphlet Illustrations of the Athenaeum Gallery of Paintings. (summary from Wikipedia)
http://www.archive.org/download/departed_days_1105_librivox/departeddays_holmes_rn_64kb.mp3″Running time=1m 12s (mp3@64kb)
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 week’s poem can be found here.