Her Ghost



HER gentle ghost is with me everywhere!
'Twas here she came, one summer day, to die;
Whispered my name, and then, all silently,
Laid her loved head upon the pillow there
And spoke no more. That summer day was fair
And very glad with joyous minstrelsy
Of choiring birds, and heedless gayety
Of small, bright things who of the sun were 'ware:
But, in the midmost glow of life, on Death
She sudden chanced: he closed her dear, dark eyes;
The air grew heavy with her parting breath,
And Nature seemed to shiver in surprise;
And then the things that morning had begun
Fared on—she too, like them, had sought the sun.


NOW with the summer she has come again:
Outside the birds sing as they sang that day,
And summer things upon the air are gay;
But she sits speechless, and her eyes are fain
To hide from me their mystery of pain. . . .
From heaven to earth, oh, dim and far the way!
Why hast thou come? Be merciful and say—
Of what strange wrong do thy veiled looks complain?
Hast thou brought back sad secrets from the skies;
Or is it that the old days haunt thee still?
Is that immortal sorrow in thine eyes
Token of longings Heaven could not fulfil?
Dear ghost, I pray thee answer, and forego
The stern resolve of thy unspoken woe.


THOU wilt not speak! Day after silent day.
Thou sittest with me in this lonesome place:
The morning sunlight falls upon thy face;
Night comes, and thou and Night together stay,—
No sunshine warms thee, and no storms dismay.
I stretch my empty arms for thine embrace
Thou glidest from them with elusive grace:
Thine unresponsive lips will never say
The thing I long to hear; yet do I think,
From me to thee, the living to the dead,
Waiting together on the hither brink
Of Death's great middle sea, some influence shed
Must make thee know how now I hold thee dear,
Who loved thee not enough that other year.
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