That's for Remembrance

Julia Stockton Dinsmore

Sweet scent of wild Kentucky mint!
The poignant perfume brings to me
Scenes that the rolling years imprint
On memory's scroll indelibly;
The shout of youth, the laugh of mirth,
All the glad music loved of old,
The breath of lips long sealed in earth,
The clasp of hands long still and cold.

How oft our childish feet have trod
Along the winding, rippling creek,
The mint among the bluegrass sod,
Jumping from rock to rock to seek
The water-snake eluding still
The swift pursuit, the eager throw,
And with hereditary skill
Escaping to the pool below.

And then the foolish crawfish peered
From shelter of his slimy stone,
And flounced along till, harried, jeered,
We pounced upon him for our own;
And then our little henchman bore,
With wily, woolly head, elate,
The prize off in the gourd whose store
Of worms and crickets was our bait.

That ancient mint, I smell it yet,
Quintessence of our sport and fun,
Trampled and tangled, bruised and wet,
Most fragrant when most trod upon;
We fished with many a fancy fling,
With many a jest and gibe and boast;
The little henchman with his string
And pinhook always caught the most.

Oh, sweeter scent in after time!
When our two horses close abreast,
Rattling the rocks in clashing chime
Among the mint their sure hoofs pressed.
Mid-summer then, and to the leaves
The added sweetness of the flowers,
But tenderest memory mutely grieves,
No more, no more — the rest is ours.

All the rich life forever past
Breathes in this perfume's affluence,
Hope's vanished vision vague and vast,
The spirit's long-lost innocence,
All that death's subtle mystery
Can dumbly show or darkly hint :
No garden rosemary for me,
But sprigs of wild Kentucky mint.