I never knew, until they went,

How much their laughter really meant

I never knew how much the place

Depended on each little face;

How barren home could be and drear

Without its living beauties here.


I never knew that chairs and books

Could wear such sad and solemn looks!

That rooms and halls could be at night

So still and drained of all delight.

This home is now but brick and board

Where bits of furniture are stored.


I used to think I loved each shelf

And room for what it was itself.

And once I thought each picture fine

Because I proudly called it mine.

But now I know they mean no more

Than art works hanging in a store.


Until they went away to roam

I never knew what made it home

But I have learned that all is base,

However wonderful the place

And decked with costly treasures, rare

Unless the living joys are there.