THAT DAY

O Heart of mine, through all those perfect days,
Whether of white Decembers or green Mays,
There runs a dark thought like a creeping snake,
Or like a black thread which by some mistake
Life has strung through the pearls of happy years,
A thought which borders all my joy with tears.

Some day, some day, or you or I, alone,
Must look upon the scenes we two have known,
Must tread the selfsame paths we two have trod,
And cry in vain to one who is with God,
To lean down from the Silent Realms and say:
"I love you" in the old familiar way.

Some day -- and each day, beauteous though it be,
Brings closer that dread hour for you or me.
Fleet-footed joy, who hurries time along,
Is yet a secret foe who does us wrong;
Speeding us gayly, though he well doth know
Of yonder pathway where but one may go.

Ay, one will go. To go is sweet, I wis --
Yet God must needs invent some special bliss
To make his Paradise seem very dear
To one who goes and leaves the other here.
To sever souls so bound by love and time,
For any one but God, would be a crime.

Yet death will entertain his own, I think.
To one who stays life gives the gall to drink;
To one who stays, or be it you, or me,
There waits the Garden of Gethsemane.
Oh, dark, inevitable, and awful day,
When one of us must go and one must stay!

Poems of Power by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago : W. B. Conkey, 1902.


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