Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919


The Room Beneath The Rafters

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sometimes when I have dropped to sleep,
Draped in a soft luxurious gloom,
Across my drowsing mind will creep
The memory of another room,
Where resinous knots in roof boards made
A frescoing of light and shade,
And sighing poplars brushed their leaves
Against the humbly sloping eaves.

Again I fancy, in my dreams,
I'm lying in my trundle bed;
I seem to see the bare old beams
And unhewn rafters overhead.
The mud-wasp's shrill falsetto hum
I hear again, and see him come
Forth from his dark-walled hanging house,
Dressed in his black and yellow blouse.

There, summer dawns, in sleep I stirred,
And wove into my fair dream's woof
The chattering of a martin bird,
Or raindrops pattering on the roof.
Or half awake, and half in fear,
I saw the spider spinning near
His pretty castle, where the fly
Should come to ruin by and by.

And there I fashioned from my brain
Youth's shining structures in the air,
I did not wholly build in vain,
For some were lasting, firm and fair.
And I am one who lives to say
My life has held more gold than grey,
And that the splendour of the real
Surpassed my early dream's ideal.

But still I love to wander back
To that old time, and that old place;
To tread my way o'er memory's track,
And catch the early morning grace,
In that quaint room beneath the rafter
That echoed to my childish laughter;
To dream again the dreams that grew
More beautiful as they came true.


Poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Copyright 1910
W.P. Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell, Edinburgh