The Son's Portrait

I walked the streets of a market town,
And came to a lumber-shop,
Which I had known ere I met the frown
Of fate and fortune,
And habit led me to stop.

In burrowing mid this chattel and that,
High, low, or edgewise thrown,
I lit upon something lying flat —
A fly-flecked portrait,
Framed. 'Twas my dead son's own.

" That photo? . . . A lady — I know not whence —
Sold it me, Ma'am, one day,
With more. You can have it for eighteenpence:
The picture's nothing;
It's but for the frame you pay."

He had given it her in their heyday shine,
When she wedded him, long her wooer:
And then he was sent to the front-trench-line,
And fell there fighting;
And she took a new bridegroom to her.

I bought the gift she had held so light,
And buried it — as 'twere he. —
Well, well! Such things are trifling, quite,
But when one's lonely
How cruel they can be!
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