by Elizabeth Stoddard
Between me and the woods along the bay
The swallows circle through the darkling mist,
The robins breast the grass, and they divide
This solitude with me. The rippling sea
And sunset clouds, the sea gulls' flashing flight
From looming isles beyond -- I watch them now
With a new sense. Where are the swallows' young,
And where the robins' nests? Year after year
They hover round this ancient house, and I,
Within as heedless, saw the long years pass,
Nor ever dreamed a day like this might come --
A day when mourners go about the street
For one who always loved his fellow-men.
The windflower trembles in the woods, the sod
Is full of violets, the orchards rain
Their scented blossoms. May unfolds its leaves --
Nature's eternal mystery to renew.
Must man be less than leaf or flower, and end?
If I go hence, when this departed soul
Has left no human tie to bind me now,
When spring unfolds, and I recall his past,
Will their remembrance lead me here again,
To teach me that his spirit comes to show
That Nature is eternal for man's sake?
Houghton, Mifflin And Company, Boston And New York