Beyond

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It seemeth such a little way to me
        Across to that strange country—the Beyond;
And yet, not strange, for it has grown to be
        The home of those of whom I am so fond,
They make it seem familiar and most dear,
As journeying friends bring distant regions near.

So close it lies that when my sight is clear
        I think I almost see the gleaming strand.
I know I feel those who have gone from here
        Come near enough sometimes to touch my hand.
I often think, but for our veiled eyes,
We should find Heaven right round about us lies.

I cannot make it seem a day to dread,
        When from this dear earth I shall journey out
To that still dearer country of the dead,
        And join the lost ones, so long dreamed about.
I love this world, yet shall I love to go
And meet the friends who wait for me, I know.

I never stand above a bier and see
        The seal of death set on some well-loved face
But that I think, "One more to welcome me
        When I shall cross the intervening space
Between this land and that one 'over there';
One more to make the strange Beyond seem fair."

And so for me there is no sting to death,
        And so the grave has lost its victory.
It is but crossing—with a bated breath
        And white, set face—a little strip of sea
To find the loved ones waiting on the shore,
More beautiful, more precious than before.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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