by: Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

      ODAY I had a burial of my dead.
      There was no shroud, no coffin, and no pall,
      No prayers were uttered and no tears were shed--
      I only turned a picture to the wall.
      A picture that had hung within my room
      For years and years; a relic of my youth.
      It kept the rose of love in constant bloom
      To see those eyes of earnestness and truth.
      At hours wherein no other dared intrude,
      I had drawn comfort from its smiling grace.
      Silent companion of my solitude,
      My soul held sweet communion with that face.
      I lived again the dream so bright, so brief,
      Though wakened as we all are by some Fate;
      This picture gave me infinite relief,
      And did not leave me wholly desolate.
      To-day I saw an item, quite by chance,
      That robbed me of my pitiful poor dole:
      A marriage notice fell beneath my glance,
      And I became a lonely widowed soul.
      With drooping eyes, and cheeks a burning flame,
      I turned the picture to the blank wall's gloom.
      My very heart had died in me of shame,
      If I had left it smiling in my room.
      Another woman's husband. So, my friend,
      My comfort, my sole relic of the past,
      I bury thee, and, lonely, seek the end.
      Swift age has swept my youth from me at last.

"A Burial" is reprinted from Yesterdays. Ella Wheeler Wilcox. London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.




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