by: Mary Elizabeth Blake (1840-1907)

      UTSIDE December's frozen gates
      A blithe new-comer stands and waits;

      While one, with gray beard on his chin,
      Sits robed in pilgrim garb within.

      One bright with hope and life's fresh grace,
      With youth's glad sunshine on his face;

      One grave and sad with sombre air,
      Which knows the weight of grief and care.

      One sadly waits, till time shall spell
      The message of his mute farewell;

      The other, friendly heart and hand
      Shall hail with welcome through the land.
      * * *
      O Parting Guest! Pause yet awhile
      And teach thy pallid lips to smile,

      For half the New Year's shining grace
      Should deck thy form and light thy face;

      Within his golden summer hours,
      Thy seed will bloom in fruit and flowers,

      And half his glow of life will shine
      Lit by the soul and strength of thine.

      O Coming Guest! Upon thy face
      Let tender sadness find a place;

      For half the old year's weight of care
      Will cloud thy brow and blanch thy hair;

      The grief that crushed his broken will
      Must cloud thy heaven of gladness still,

      And every pang his soul hath known,
      Will flash through time to pierce thine own.
      * * *
      Fade with thy freight of memories fond
      O Year! to seek the land beyond.

      Rise from thy newer realm of bliss
      O Year! and bring fresh hopes to this!

      While we send up from thankful breasts
      God speed and love to both our guests.

"The Two Guests" is reprinted from Poems. Mary Elizabeth Blake. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891.




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