Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919


Life And Death

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Three days agone, and she was here:
Her light step on the stair was springing.
Her sweet voice fell upon my ear;
(She mocked the thrushes in her singing.)
The billows of her long, bright hair
Fell round her, in a golden splendor.
Her face was young and fresh and fair;
Her eyes were innocent and tender.

Her presence filled the house: each room
Breathed of her pure and sweet existence.
She was like some rare plant in bloom,
Its fragrance reaching through the distance.
Here was her ribbon -- there her book,
Beyond, her wreath, or faded flower.
A step, a voice, a laugh, a look,
Told of her presence, hour by hour.

How strange is life! I said, From naught
God fashioned out this glowing creature.
Endowed with motion, feeling thought --
Perfect in symmetry, and feature.
Sweeter than any opening rose,
All grace and beauty hangs about her.
Though every flower were left that blows,
Earth would be bare and bleak, without her.

Three days agone! ay! life is strange,
But death is stranger, vaster, deeper.
It brings us tears, and gloom, and change.
She was God's sheaf, and Death His reaper.
Three days! and now no voice is heard --
No light step on the stair is bounding.
In vain the tuneful-throated bird
Listens to hear her answer sounding.

I cannot find her, anywhere!
How vast and strange the mystic power,
That leaves but one soft strand of hair,
Of all that golden, shining shower,
In door, and out, in every place,
I search and seek; oh, vain endeavor!
The voice, the laugh, the form, the face,
Have vanished from the earth forever.

A spot of ground, a fresh-turned sod,
Hides what was beautiful and mortal.
Her spirit (fairer still) to God,
And life eternal, crossed the portal.
Frailer than any opening rose,
The winds of earth blew cold about her.
Fairer than any flower that grows,
Heaven was not complete without her.



Copyright 1873
Hauser & Storey, Milwaukee
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