All day long there has haunted me
A spectre out of my lost youthland.
Because I happened last night to see
A woman's beautiful snow-white hand.
Like part of a statue broken away,
And carefully kept in a velvet case,
On the crimson rim of her box it lay;
The folds of the curtain hid her face.
Years had drifted between us two,
In another clime, in another land,
We had lived and parted, and yet I knew
That cruelly beautiful perfect hand.
The ringless beauty of fingers fine,
The sea-shell tint of their taper tips,
The sight of them stirred my blood like wine,
Oh, to hold them again to my lips!
To feel their tender touch on my hair,
Their mute caress, and their clinging hold;
Oh for the past that was green and fair,
With a cloudless sky, and a sun of gold!
But the sun has set, and a dead delight
Shadows my life with a dull despair,
Oh why did I see that hand of white,
Like a marble ornament lying there?
Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.
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