In Ebon Box, when years have flown
To reverently peer,
Wiping away the velvet dust
Summers have sprinkled there!
To hold a letter to the light —
Grown Tawny now, with time —
To con the faded syllables
That quickened us like Wine!
Perhaps a Flower’s shrivelled check
Among its stores to find —
Plucked far away, some morning —
By gallant — mouldering hand!
A curl, perhaps, from foreheads
Our Constancy forgot —
Perhaps, an Antique trinket —
In vanished fashions set!
And then to lay them quiet back —
And go about its care —
As if the little Ebon Box
Were none of our affair!
Remembrance-trinkets and how we forget what we are supposed to remember by them.