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I spied a grand old ash,
Close by the shore, where crash
The waves on shining sand.
I asked it: “Here you stand,
And have for many years.
What laughter and what tears
Can you recall, old tree?
Your secrets tell to me.”

Sprang up a brisk sea-breeze
To rustle its grey leaves;
Its branches swayed and groaned,
And then to me it moaned:
“So long ago I saw
Upon this shining shore,
The campfires in the night,
And by their flickering light,
The dance of painted men;
I was a sapling then;
Now fully grown am I;
My trunk is thick, and high
And mighty do I stand,
But on the shining sand
I see no signs of men –
The ones I knew back then.
Their fires have long gone cold –
To ash – and I am old.”

Then quiet – the sea-breeze died,
And soft the giant sighed;
The waves crashed on the shore;
The old ash said no more.

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