Respite

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   The mighty conflict, which we call existence,
      Doth wear upon the body and the soul,
   Our vital forces wasted in resistance,
      So much there is to conquer and control.

   The rock which meets the billows with defiance,
      Undaunted and unshaken day by day,
   In spite of its unyielding self-reliance,
      Is by the warfare surely worn away.

   And there are depths and heights of strong emotions
      That surge at times within the human breast,
   More fierce than all the tides of all the oceans
      Which sweep on ever in divine unrest.

   I sometimes think the rock worn with adventures,
      And sad with thoughts of conflicts yet to be,
   Must envy the frail reed which no one censures,
      When, overcome, ’tis swallowed by the sea.

   This life is all resistance and repression.
      Dear God, if in that other world unseen,
   Not rest we find, but new life and progression,
      Grant us a respite in the grave between.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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