'Tis said, when we shall go across the river,
Whose bridge is death, and gain the other side,
There in that land, with God, the mighty Giver,
The heart shall evermore be satisfied.
And yet, sometimes I cannot help but wonder,
How I can live in heaven without your love;
How live, rejoicing, through all time, I ponder,
And not have you, even with God above.
We bear such things on earth, for we remember
That life is but a little span, at best.
Its passion summer, but precedes December,
And in the grave, we say, there will be rest.
But after death, time stretches with no limit:
Your love, no time can ever bring to me.
Is heaven so bright this shadow can not dim it?
It seems so long--that strange Eternity.
How could my heart, and soul, change so completely
That I should never think of this up there?
But in the angel choruses join sweetly,
Nor ever feel this gnawing grief, and care.
How vast God's lore! how vain the skill of mortal!
He did not mean that we should understand,
Until our feet had crossed the shining portal,
The things so deep, and fathomless, and grand.
And He has made a heaven--a place most holy,
For His redeemed to sometime enter in.
And there is room for all the meek and lowly,
Whose faith, through sorrow hath washed out all sin.
And I believe, when we shall cross the river,
Whose bridge is death, and reach the other side,
There in that land, with God the gracious Giver,
Our hearts shall evermore be satisfied.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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