Tonight I come back from the silent places
And all the sweets of loneliness resign;
And waiting here to greet me are the faces—
The cheering faces of these friends of mine.
I find the words I long ago have spoken
Safe in the tender guarding of their care.
They kept my image in their hearts unbroken
And clean of all the stains of life I wear.
The gypsy trail was pleasant to my going;
The solitude was sweet as amber wine.
And yet I only loved this vagrance, knowing
I might turn back to these old friends of mine.
How firm their hands are in my hour of sadness!
How cool their voices to my soul’s deep scars!
Beneath the moon they greet me in their gladness,
And warm the bloodless current of the stars.
O Life, my heart is not for riches yearning,
My prayers are always humble at thy shrine;
For this is wealth: to know my foot’s returning
Is always music to a friend of mine.