Sis Rapalye

When rainy-greener shoots the grass
And blooms the cherry tree,
And children laugh by glittering brooks,
Wild with the ecstasy
Of bursting Spring, with twittering bird
And hum of honey-bee, —
" Sis Rapalye! " my spirit shouts . . .
And she is here with me!

As laugh the children, so her laugh
Haunts all the atmosphere; —
Her song is in the brook's refrain;
Her glad eyes, flashing clear,
Are in the morning dews; her speech
Is melody so dear,
The bluebird trills, — " Sis Rapalye! —
I hear! — I hear! — I hear! "

Again in races, at " Recess, "
I see her braided hair
Toss past me as I stay to lift
Her straw hat, fallen there;
The school-bell sends a vibrant pang
My heart can hardly bear. —
Yet still she leads — Sis Rapalye —
And leads me everywhere!

Now I am old. — Yet she remains
The selfsame child of ten. —
Gay, gallant little girl, to race
On into Heaven then!
Yet gallant, gay Sis Rapalye —
In blossom-time, and when
The trees and grasses beckon her —
Comes back to us again.

And so, however long since youth
Whose raptures wild and free
An old man's heart may claim no more, —
With more than memory
I share the Spring's own joy that brings
My boyhood back to me
With laughter, blossoms, singing birds
And sweet Sis Rapalye.
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