The last dance

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


The wave of the ocean, the leaf of the wood,
In the rhythm of motion proclaim life is good.
The stars are all swinging to metres and rhyme,
The planets are singing while suns mark the time.
The moonbeams and rivers float off in a trance,
The Universe quivers - on, on with the dance!

Our partners we pick from the best of the throng
In the ballroom of Life and go lilting along;
We follow our fancy, and choose as we will,
For waltz or for tango or merry quadrille;
But ever one partner is waiting us all
At the end of the programme, to finish the ball.

Unasked, and unwelcome, he comes without leave
And calls when he chooses, ‘My dance, I believe?’
And none may refuse him, and none may say no;
When he beckons the dancer, the dancer must go.
You may hate him, and shun him; and yet in life’s ball
For the one who lives well ’tis the best dance of all.

from Poems of Optimism by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1919)

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