It seemeth such a little way to me
    Across to that strange country, the Beyond;
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 countries near.
So close it lies that, when my sight is clear,
    I think I see the gleaming strand;
I know I feel those who have gone from here
    Come near enough to touch my hand.
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 out
To that still dearer country of the dead,
    And join the lost ones, so long dreamed about.
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 face,
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 abated breath,
    And white, set face, a little strip of sea,
To find the loved ones waiting on the shore,
More beautiful, more precious than before.

--Ella Wheeler in Christian at Work.
Charlotte Home-Democrat 18 July 1884: 1.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.

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