The days flow on, and on,
And never one comes back.
Another year has vanished and gone,
As the waves of the sea wash out the track
On the shining sands o' th' shore.
And patience waneth, and hope is spent,
As I wait and watch for the one who went,
And cometh to me no more.
The spring-time lived and died,
And the summer followed fast;
And I watched through both, with a heart that cried,
For the one who vanished into the past,
Like a beautiful star from the sky;
Who sailed in a good ship over the sea,
And the ship came back: "But where is he,
Oh, treacherous ship," I cry?
The autumn, gold and brown,
Rose from the summer's grave,
And the rain and my tears fell down and down,
As day by day I stood by the wave,
And cried aloud in my pain.
But what cares the sea for a tortured soul!
It mocks at grief, and the breakers roll,
Singing a loud refrain.
And never a word from thee,
But a silence deep as death;
Though the winter gleameth on moor and lea,
And the cold, cold wind, with its cruel breath,
Blows over the angry sea.
Yet alway and ever, till life is done,
Shall I watch, and wait, and weep for one
Who cometh never, to me.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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