As some contented bird doth coo
She trilled a song of fond delight,
The while she spread the cloth of white,
And set the cups and plates for two.
She leaned beyond the window sill,
And looked along the busy street,
And listened for his coming feet.
The skies were calm, the winds were still.
'O love, my love, why art thou late?
The kettle boils, the cloth is spread,
The clock points close to noon,' she said.
O clock of time! O clock of fate!
She heard the moon's glad sound of cheer;
(The hiss, the whirl, the crash, the creak,
Of maddened wheels, the awful shriek
Of awestruck men--she did not hear.)
She lightly tripped about the room,
And near the window, where his eyes
Might greet it with a pleased surprise,
She placed a pot of fragrant bloom.
Strange nervous steps were at the gate.
Why grew her heart so cold, so numb?
The clock struck twelve, the noon had come.
Ah! noon of time! O noon of fate!
A shattered vase beside the wall;
A young face grey with awful fear,
A rigid shape, a covered bier,
A shadowed life, and that is all.
Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.
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