Poor Margaret.

Poor Margaret’s window is alight ;1
Poor Margaret sits alone ;2
Though long into the silent night,3
And far the world is gone.4
She lives in shadow till her blood5
Grows blackened, soul and all ;6
Upon her head a mourning hood,7
Upon her heart a pall.8
The stars come nightly out of heaven9
Old darkness to beguile ;10
For her there is no healing given11
To their sweet spirit-smile.12
That honey dew of sleep the skies13
In blessed balm let fall,14
Comes not to her poor tired eyes,15
Though it be sent for all.16
At some dead flower, with fragrance faint,17
Her life opes like a book ;18
Some old sweet music makes its plaint,19
And, from the grave’s dim nook,20
The buried bud of hopes laid low,21
Flowers in the night full-blown ;22
And little things of long ago23
Come back to her full-grown.24
Her heart is wandering in a whirl,25
And she must seek the tomb26
Where lies her long-lost little girl.27
Oh well with them for whom28
Love’s morning star comes round so fair29
As evening star of faith,30
Already up and shining, ere31
The dark of coming death.32
But Margaret cannot reach a hand33
Beyond the dark of death ;34
Her spirit swoons in that high land35
Where breathes no human breath ;36
She cannot look upon the grave37
As one eternal shore,38
From which a soul may take the wave39
For heaven, to sail or soar.40
Across that deep no sail unfurled41
For her, no wings put forth ;42
She tries to reach the other world43
By groping through the earth.44
’Twas there the child went underground,45
They parted in that place ;46
And ever since the mother found47
The door shut in her face.48
Though many effacing springs have wrapped49
With green the dark grave-bed,50
’Twas there the breaking heartstrings snapped,51
As she let down her dead ;52
And there she gropes with wild heart yet,53
For years, and years, and years ;54
Poor Margaret ! and there she’ll let55
Her sorrows loose in tears.56
All the young mother in her old voice57
Its waking moan will make ;58
A young aurora light her eyes59
With radiance gone to wreck !60
And then at dawn she will return61
To her old self again,62
Eyes dim and dry, heart grey and dern,63
And querulous in her pain.64
We never loved each other much,65
I and my poor good-man ;66
But on the child we lavish’d such67
A love as overran68
All boundaries, loving her the more69
Because our love was pent ;70
Striving as two seas try to pour71
Their strength through one small rent.72
For children come to still link hands,73
When souls have fallen apart ;74
And hide the rift when either stands75
At distance heart from heart.76
So on our little one we’d look,77
Press hands with fonder grasp,78
As though we closed some holy book79
Softly with golden clasp.80
And as the dark earth offers up81
Her little winterling82
The crocus, pleading with its cup83
Of hoarded gold, to bring84
Down all the grey heaven’s golden shower85
Of spring to warm the sod ;86
So did we lift the winsome flower87
That sprang from our dark clod.88
Our little Golden-heart, her name,89
And all things sweet and calm,90
And pure and fragrant, round her came91
With gifts of bloom and balm.92
And there she grew, my queen of all,93
Golden, and saintly white,94
Just as at summer’s smiling call95
The lily stands alight.96
To knee or nipple grew the goal97
Of her wee stately walk ;98
The voice of my own silent soul99
Was her dear baby-talk.100
Then darklingly she pined and failed.101
And looking on our dead,102
The father wailed awhile and ailed,103
Turned to the wall and said :104
‛’Tis dark and still our house of life,105
The fire is burning low,106
Our pretty one is gone, and, wife,107
’Tis time for me to go :108
Our Golden-heart has gone to sleep,109
She’s happed in for the night ;110
And so to bed I’ll quietly creep,111
And sleep till morning light.’ ”112
Once more poor Margaret arose,113
And passed into the night :114
Long shadows weird of tree and house115
Made ghosts i’ the wan moonlight !116
She passed into the churchyard, where117
The many glad life-waves118
That leap’d of old, have stood still there,119
In green and grassy graves.120
Oh, would my body were at rest121
Under this cool grave sward !122
Oh, would my soul were with the blest,123
That slumber in the Lord !124
They sleep so sweetly underground,125
For death hath shut the door,126
And all the world of sorrow and sound127
Can trouble them no more.”128
A spirit feel is in the place,129
That makes the poor heart gasp ;130
Her soul stands white up in her face131
For one warm human clasp !132
To-night she sees the grave astir,133
And, as in prayer she kneels,134
The mystery opens unto her :135
She for the first time feels136
The spirit world may be as near137
Her, moving silent round,138
As are the dead that sleep a mere139
Short fathom underground.140
And there be eyes that see the sight141
Of lorn ones wandering, vexed142
Through some long, sad, and shadowy night143
Betwixt this world and next.144
Doorways of fear are eye and ear,145
Through which the wonders go ;146
And through the night with glow-worm light,147
The church is all aglow !148
There comes a waft of Sabbath hymn ;149
She enters : all the air150
With faces fills, divine and dim,151
The blessed dead are there.152
One came and bade poor Margaret sit,153
Seemed to her as it smiled,154
A great white bird of God alit155
From the marble forest wild.156
Look to the altar !” there a spell157
Fixed her ; she saw up start158
A woman, like a soul in hell :159
’Twas her own Golden-heart.160
It would have been thus, mother dear,161
And so God took her, from162
All trials and temptations here,163
To His eternal home ;164
And you shall see her in a place165
Where death can never part.”166
She looked up in that angel’s face :167
’Twas her own Golden-heart.168
The lofty music rose again169
From all those happy souls,170
Till all the windows thrilled, as when171
The organ thunder rolls ;172
And all her life is like a light173
Weak weed the stream doth sway174
Until it reaches its full height,175
Breaks, and is borne away.176
Her life stood still to listen to177
That music ! then a hand178
Took hers, and she was floated through179
The mystic border-land.180
’Twas Golden-heart ! from that eclipse181
She drew her into bliss :182
Two spirits closed at dying lips,183
In one immortal kiss.184
Next day, an early worshipper185
Was kneeling in the aisle ;186
A statue of life that did not stir,187
But knelt on with a smile188
Upon the face that smiled with light,189
As though, when left behind,190
It smiled on with some glorious sight,191
Long after the eyes were blind.192