O Heart of mine, through all these perfect days
Whether of white Decembers or green Mays,
There glides a dark thought 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 self-same 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 to you or me.
Fleet-footed joy who hurries time along
Is yet a secret foe who does us wrong.
Speeding us swiftly, 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 will go, and one must stay
October 13th, 1898
Sonnets of sorrow and triumph. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York: George H. Doran, 1918.
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