DYING.

The great high arch of heaven, like tapestry
    On ancient walls, was grandly colored--save
The quiet, cloudless west, that was a sea
    Of purest crystal--golden wave on wave.
"Oh love," she whispered, "open wide the blind,
    And let me see the glory of the West;
There just across the sea, my soul will find--
    What here is never found--find peace and rest."

Deeper, and darklier grand, the bright clouds grew,
    And red and amber streaks shot through the North.
The very light of heaven was shining through
    The crystal West. She reached her thin hand forth
And a strange splendor fell upon her face;
    And her dark eyes glowed with unearthly light.
I knew it came from God's celestial place,
    Where there is neither sorrow, death, nor night.

"Oh love!" she cried, "my struggling spirit yearns
    To leave this clay and go across the sea,
Look! how to molten gold the whole sky turns;
    And see that white hand beckoning to me.
Oh love, my love, this is not death, to go
    At this sweet hour across the golden tide;
To drop my every care, and henceforth know
    Only the pleasures of that other side."

The angel took the tapestries away,
    And rolled them up in heaven, out of sight,
Leaving the common walls of sombre gray
    To catch the dews and damp fogs of the night.
The west wind played upon his dulcimer.
    I leaned across her couch with bated breath;
"Oh love," I said, as I gazed down on her,
    "Surely, thy words were true, this is not death!"

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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