For A Child
E. H. M.
Nov. 17th, 1890—Feb. 13th, 1904
Still he lies,
Pale, wan, and strangely wise.
Under the white coverlet
He lies here sleeping yet,
Though it is day,
Though through the window flares the gaudy day.
With red red roses strewn—
Little red roses smelling sweet of June—
He sleeps the winter dawn away.
The pink and gilded valentines are there
He fingered yesterday;
The toy beasts guard him unaware—
Jumbo the elephant, and Watch the dog,
And Strawberry the big brown furry bear—
The three he kept with him,
Who always slept with him,
Sleep not but stare, like shore lights in a fog.
All is the same—
Table and chairs, the picture in its frame,
The books with covers gay,
And now, the day!—
There through the window flares the gaudy day.
Would it were night, since in my heart is night;
Softly-caressing, blinding, deadening night,
That won him from me! Would that we—we two,
Wound close together soft in folds of white,
Were buried deep in darkness! From the night
Love called him years ago—from the dim blue
Of shadow-souls that throng about the earth
Waiting for birth.
And when the moons were run,
Through blackest night, the windy night of pain,
We rose—we twain—
Into the path of the sun,
And saw God pass to light the world anew.
Now all is done,
The torch is burned away—
Yet it is day!
Now through the window flares the gaudy day.
Did you speak, little one?
At your locked lips I listen evermore.
Say, do you play upon the starry floor,
And pluck the anemone and asphodel
In happy groves, a happy child forever?
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