It seemeth such a little way to me
Across to that strange country--the
And yet, not strange, for it has grown to be
The home of those of whom I am so fond
They make it seem familiar and most dear,
As journeying friends bring distant regions near.
So close it lies that when my sight is clear
I think I almost see the gleaming strand.
I know I feel those who have gone from here
Come near enough sometimes to touch
I often think but for our veiled eyes
We should find heaven right round about us lies.
I cannot make it seem a day to dread
When from this dear earth I shall journey
To that still dearer country of the dead,
And join the lost ones, so long dreamed
I love this world, yet shall I love to go
And meet the friends who wait for me, I know.
I never stand above a bier and see
The seal of death set on some well-loved
But that I think, "One more to welcome me,
When I shall cross the intervening space
Between this land and that one 'over there ;'
One more to make the strange Beyond seem fair."
And so for me there is no sting to death,
And so the grave has lost its victory.
It is but crossing--with a bated breath,
And white, set face--a little strip
To find the loved ones waiting on the shore
More beautiful, more precious than before.
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
The Evening Bulletin [Philadelphia] 29 Jan. 1906: 7
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.