« PreviousContinue »
The Heart's Spring-Time.
The earth lay shrouded white in snow;
With low, sad voice, the winds wailed by; While, as in hopeless prayer, the trees
Their gaunt arms lifted to the sky. All nature was in chains: the brooks
Crept ice-bound on their sluggish way; The sun shone feebly, and the night
Soon blotted out the cheerless day.
Then from the south the glad spring came,
And breathed through all the chilly air, And wheresoe'er her warm feet trod
Sprang life and beauty everywhere.
The fields and meadows all put on
Their spangled dress of grass and flowers, Brooks babbled, and ecstatic birds
Made shake with joy their leafy towers.
Such is the spring-time of the year!
But tell me, then, Has man no part In life's long triumph over death?
Is there no spring-time of the heart? Our loved ones, shrouded white, have lain
Beneath the snow these many years: The sad-voiced winds above them go,
And on their graves drip rainy tears. Their shadowy memories visit us,
For dreams at least can leave that shore,– Mother's gray hairs and gentle eyes,
As light she steps across the floor;
Or comes the brother of our youth,
Making the far-off years draw nigh; The wife, long lost, our fadeless dream,
The same old love-look in her eye;
The laughing child, whose sunny hair
Was so entangled in our heart It bleeds afresh when we recall
The hour that tore our lives apart.
'Tis winter in our lives! Snows fall,
Chill, dreary skies are overhead,
The flowers of our hope are dead.
Is there no spring-time of the heart?
Will our lives bud again no more? Will they no more return,- the birds
Whose music made us glad before?
Nay, listen! In my heart, I hear
The whisper of another spring:
Leaves burst and buds are blossoming.
Where summer blooms the whole round year, Where every sound melts into song
And comes as music to my ear.
The lost ones hidden by the snow,
With faces white and still and cold, Beneath those soft skies wake again
To live and love us as of old.
Mother and brother, wife and child,
They keep the same remembered faces : Only tear-stains and lines of care
With deathless youth can find no places.
And, best of all, it looks like home,
No strange land trod by alien feet; Familiar as our childhood haunts,
Clothed all in mellow sunlight sweet. The heart's long prayer is answered thus :
The dead through no far countries roam; As babes born into waiting arms,
They die into some hig!er home.
And 'neath the sunshine of this hope
My life, where joy had ceased to sing,
M. J. S.
The Dead One's Message.
COULD now the silence of these lips
Wake into speech once more to-day With their sweet tones of old-time love,
What last words, think you, would they say?
Weep for me tenderly; for I,
Were you here lying in my place, Would press my warm lips on your brow,
And rain the hot tears on your face.
“For is it not death's sting to know
That, howe'er happy, still apart Our pathways lead us, while the old,
Strong love still yearns within the heart?
“And, when this body's laid away,
I'd have you my low earth-bed make
And sacred for the old-time's sake.
“But then, sweet friends, look up and on!
Let sunshine all the clouds break through ; And do not, for my sake, forget
What for the living you should do i
“Let not the shadow of my loss
Darken the path the living tread; But let the memories of my past
Still cheer and help, though I am dead.
“ These ears can hear your words no more,
However fondly you may speak : For my sake then, with words of love,
The living cheer, and help the weak.
My heart, now still, no longer aches :
But weary thousands watch and wake Through dreary nights and hopeless days;
Help them before their sad hearts break ! “ Your willing hands for me have wrought;
But now I need your help no more. The service you would render me
Give those who suffer at your door. “ Cherish my memory in your heart !
But, lest it grow a selfish thing, Make channels for a thousand streams,
Of which my love shall be the spring. “ So from the grave I still may speak;
Still help the sorrowing world to bless; Still live, though dead, and swell the tide
Of human love and happiness.”
M. J. S.
Which is Better ?
Out into the mystery there beyond breath
We smile at the birth, at the death toll the bell;
How oft is the birth to a life full of tears,
How often the structures we reared with delight,
A live sorrow often is harder, we say,
Our birth is a coming - so wise men have said —
For, if it be true we existed before,
Did they mourn our departure there, as we to-day
Take one more step onward, as ever we climb
Birth and death may be one, then : the different view, Or coming or going, makes us think them two.
And, since life reaches upward and on through all time,
Birth! death! — which is better we now cannot tell.
M. J. S.