I am troubled to-night with a curious pain;
   It is not of the flesh, it is not of the brain,
      Nor yet of a heart that is breaking:
   But down still deeper, and out of sight---
   In the place where the soul and the body unite---
      There lies the seat of the aching.

   They have been lovers, in days gone by;
   But the soul is fickle, and longs to fly
      From the fettering misalliance;
   And she tears at the bonds which are binding her so,
   And pleads with the body to let her go,
      But he will not yield compliance.

   For the body loves, as he loved in the past
   When he wedded the soul; and he holds her fast,
      And swears that he will not loose her;
   That he will keep her and hide her away
   For ever and ever and for a day
      From the arms of Death, the seducer.

   Ah! this is the strife that is wearying me---
   The strife 'twixt a soul that would be free
      And a body that will not let her.
   And I say to my soul, "Be calm, and wait:
   For I tell ye truly that soon or late
      Ye surely shall drop each fetter."

   And I say to the body, "Be kind, I pray;
   For the soul is not of thy mortal clay,
      But is formed in spirit fashion."
   And still through the hours of the solemn night
   I can hear my sad soul's plea for flight,
      And my body's reply of passion.

Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.

Back to Poem Index