Mockery

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Why do we grudge our sweets so to the living
Who, God knows, find at best too much of gall,
And then with generous, open hands kneel, giving
Unto the dead our all?

Why do we pierce the warm hearts, sin or sorrow,
With idle jests, or scorn, or cruel sneers,
And when it cannot know, on some to-morrow,
Speak of its woe through tears?

What do the dead care, for the tender token—
The love, the praise, the floral offerings?
But palpitating, living hearts are broken
For want of just these things.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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