Over the May Hill
All through the night time, and all through the day time,
Dreading the morning and dreading the night,
Nearer and nearer we drift to the May time
Season of beauty and season of blight,
Leaves on the linden, and sun on the meadow,
Green in the garden, and bloom everywhere,
Gloom in my heart, and a terrible shadow,
Walks by me, sits by me, stands by my chair.
Oh, but the birds by the brooklet are cheery,
Oh, but the woods show such delicate greens,
Strange how you droop and how soon you are weary -
Too well I know what that weariness means.
But how could I know in the crisp winter weather
(Though sometimes I noticed a catch in your breath),
Riding and singing and dancing together,
How could I know you were racing with death?
How could I know when we danced until morning,
And you were the gayest of all the gay crowd -
With only that shortness of breath for a warning,
How could I know that you danced for a shroud?
Whirling and whirling through moonlight and starlight.
Rocking as lightly as boats on the wave,
Down in your eyes shone a deep light--a far light,
How could I know 'twas the light to your grave?
Day by day, day by day, nearing and nearing,
Hid under greenness, and beauty and bloom,
Cometh the shape and the shadow I'm fearing,
"Over the May hill" is waiting your tomb.
The season of mirth and of music is over -
I have danced my last dance, I have sung my last song,
Under the violets, under the clover,
My heart and my love will be lying ere long
- by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
|Poems of Cheer (1910)|