Full sixteen thousand million souls are here
Upon the earth, and yet not one or all
Can rouse my old-time pleasure in this sphere
Or from my shrouded heart remove the pall.
But could I see you face or hear your voice
For one brief moment, dear, or touch your hand
Then would I wake to rapture and rejoice
Though death and devastation filled the land.
I knew I loved you; but life made not plain
How utterly you were my world entire
Until I stood alone and tried in vain
To find diversion, interest, or desire.
Bereft of you, I am of all bereft,
While sixteen thousand million souls are left.
Sonnets of sorrow and triumph. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York: George H. Doran, 1918.
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