Desolation

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I think that the bitterest sorrow or pain
       Of love unrequited, or cold death's woe,
       Is sweet compared to that hour when we know
That some grand passion is on the wane;

When we see that the glory and glow and grace
       Which lent a splendor to night and day
       Are surely fading, and showing the gray
And dull groundwork of the commonplace;

When fond expressions on dull ears fall,
       When the hands clasp calmly without one thrill,
       When we cannot muster by force of will
The old emotions that came at call;

When the dream has vanished we fain would keep,
       When the heart, like a watch, runs out of gear,
       And all the savor goes out of the year,
Oh, then is the time—if we can—to weep!

But no tears soften this dull, pale woe;
       We must sit and face it with dry, sad eyes.
       If we seek to hold it, the swifter joy flies—
We can only be passive, and let it go.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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