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Last Days

by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, 1895

As one who follows a departing friend,
Destined to cross the great, dividing sea,
I watch and follow these departing days,
That go so grandly, lifting up their crowns
Still regal, though their victor Autumn comes.
Gifts they bestow, which I accept, return,
As gifts exchanged between a loving pair,
Who may possess them as memorials
Of pleasures ended by the shadow—Death.
What matter which shall vanish hence, if both
Are transitory—me, and these bright hours—
And of the future ignorant alike?
From all our social thralls I would be free.
Let care go down the wind—as hounds afar,
Within their kennels baying unseen foes,
Give to calm sleepers only calmer dreams.
Here will I rest alone: the morning mist
Conceals no form but mine; the evening dew
Freshens but faded flowers and my worn face.
When the noon basks among the wooded hills
I too will bask, as silent as the air
So thick with sun-motes, dyed like yellow gold,
Or colored purple like an unplucked plum.
The thrush, now lonesome, for her young have flown,
May flutter her brown wings across my path;
And creatures of the sod with brilliant eyes
May leap beside me, and familiar grow.
The moon shall rise among her floating clouds,
Black, vaporous fans, and crinkled globes of pearl,
And her sweet silver light be given to me.
To watch and follow these departing days
Must be my choice; and let me mated be
With Solitude; may memory and hope
Unite to give me faith that nothing dies;
To show me always, what I pray to know,
That man alone may speak the word—Farewell.

Published in Poems

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