Astronomers may gaze the heavens o'er,
Discovering wonders, great perhaps and true!
That stars are worlds, and peopled like our own,
But I shall never think as these men do.
I shall believe them little shining things,
Fashioned from heavenly ore and filled with light.
And to the sky above, so smoothly blue,
An angel comes and nails them, every night.
And I have seen him. You no doubt would think
A white cloud, sailed across the heaven's blue.
But as I watched the feathery thing, it was
An angel nailing up the stars I knew.
And all night long they shine for us below;
Shine in pale splendor, till the mighty sun
Wakes up again. And then the angel comes,
And gathers in his treasures, one by one.
How sweet the task! Oh when this life is done,
And I have joined the angel band on high,
Of all that throng, oh, may it be my lot,
To nail the stars upon the evening sky.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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