I think true love is something like a tree;
The oak, that lifts its branches to the sky.
The woodman's axe may strike it fatally,
Or it may fall, when mighty winds sweep by.
And where it grew, the flowers may bloom instead,
And all may seem as though the tree were dead.
But underneath the grass, and flowers, there lies,
Hid from the gaping world, a tiny root,
A little living germ, that never dies;
And ever and anon its branches shoot
Up through the earth, and mock, and strive to be
The mighty forest king--the parent tree.
So love may wither, at the hand of Fate,
Or fall beneath the killing winds that blow;
And other loves may spring up, soon or late,
And flowers of forgetfulness may grow,
Over the spot where love once grew instead,
And we may think the old-time passion dead.
And still the little germ lies in the heart,
So closely hidden that it is not known;
And ever and anon its branches start---
Vain mimics of the passion that has flown.
Though love, once slain, can live not, as of yore,
I think its ghost will haunt us evermore.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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