Art thou alive? Nay, not too soon reply,
Tho' hand and foot, and lip and ear and eye
Respond, and do thy bidding; yet maybe
Grim death HAS done it's direst work with thee.

Life, as God gives it, is a thing apart
From active body and from beating heart.
It is the vital spark, the unseen fire,
That moves the mind to reason and aspire;
It is the force that bids emotions roll,
In mighty billows from the surging soul.

It is the light that grows from hour to hour,
And floods the brain with consciousness of power;
It is the spirit dominating all,
And realm of God with an imperious call,
Until the shining glory of his face
Illuminates each sorrowful, dark place.

It is the truth that sets the bondsman free,
Knowing he will be what he wills to be.
With it's unburied dead the earth is sad;
Art thou alive? Proclaim it and be glad!
Perchance the dead may hear thee and arise,
Knowing THEY live, and here is Paradise.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Transcribed from her notes at Yale by Lori DeCarlo

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