Grief

From ImmortalPoetry
Jump to navigationJump to search

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   As the funeral train with its honoured dead
      On its mournful way went sweeping,
   While a sorrowful nation bowed its head
      And the whole world joined in weeping,
   I thought, as I looked on the solemn sight,
      Of the one fond heart despairing,
   And I said to myself, as in truth I might,
      “How sad must be this _sharing_.”

   To share the living with even Fame,
      For a heart that is only human,
   Is hard, when Glory asserts her claim
      Like a bold, insistent woman;
   Yet a great, grand passion can put aside
      Or stay each selfish emotion,
   And watch, with a pleasure that springs from pride,
      Its rival—the world’s devotion.

   But Death should render to love its own,
      And my heart bowed down and sorrowed
   For the stricken woman who wept alone
      While even her _dead_ was borrowed;
   Borrowed from her, the bride—the wife—
      For the world’s last martial honour,
   As she sat in the gloom of her darkened life,
      With her widow’s grief fresh upon her.

   He had shed the glory of Love and Fame
      In a golden halo about her;
   She had shared his triumphs and worn his name:
      But, alas! he had died without her.
   He had wandered in many a distant realm,
      And never had left her behind him,
   But now, with a spectral shape at the helm,
      He had sailed where she could not find him.

   It was only a thought, that came that day
      In the midst of the muffled drumming
   And funeral music and sad display,
      That I knew was right and becoming
   Only a thought as the mourning train
      Moved, column after column,
   Bearing the dead to the burial plain
      With a reverence grand as solemn.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Add your comment
ImmortalPoetry welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.