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Songs of the Silent World And Other Poems

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There is no vacant chair. The loving meet—A group unbroken—smitten, who knows how?One sitteth silent only, in his usual seat;We gave him once that freedom. Why not now?

Perhaps he is too weary, and needs rest;He needed it too often, nor could weBestow. God gave it, knowing how to do so best.Which of us would disturb him? Let him be.

There is no vacant chair. If he will takeThe mood to listen mutely, be it done.By his least mood we crossed, for which the heart must ache,Plead not nor question! Let him have this one.

Death is a mood of life. It is no whimBy which life's Giver mocks a broken heart.Death is life's reticence. Still audible to Him,The hushed voice, happy, speaketh on, apart.

There is no vacant chair. To love is stillTo have. Nearer to memory than to eye,And dearer yet to anguish than to comfort, willWe hold him by our love, that shall not die.

For while it doth not, thus he cannot. Try!Who can put out the motion or the smile?The old ways of being noble all with him laid by?Because we love, he is. Then trust awhile.


Oh, joy of the dying!At last thou art mine.And leaping to meet thee,Impatient to greet thee,A rapid and rapturous, sensitive, fineGayety steals through my pulses to-day,Daring and doubting like pleasureForbidden, or Winter looking at May.

Oh, sorrow of living!Make way for the thrillOf the soul that is starting—Onlooking—departingAcross the threshold of clay.Bend, bow to the willOf the soul that is up and away!


I think if I should cross the room,Far as fear;Should stand beside you like a thought—Touch you, Dear!

Like a fancy. To your sad heartIt would seemThat my vision passed and prayed you,Or my dream.

Then you would look with lonely eyes—Lift your head—And you would stir, and sigh, and say—"She is dead."

Baffled by death and love, I leanThrough the gloom.O Lord of life! am I forbidTo cross the room?


The shadows watch about the house;Silent as they, I come.Oh, it is true that life is deaf,And not that death is dumb.

The Christmas thrill is on the earth,The stars throb in the sky.Love listens in a thousand homes,—The Christmas bells ring by.

I cross the old familiar doorAnd take the dear old chair.You look with desolated eyesUpon me sitting there.

You gaze and see not, though the tearsIn gazing burn and start.Believe, the living are the blind,Not that the dead depart.

A year ago some words we saidKept sacred 'twixt us twain,'T is you, poor Love, who answer not,The while I speak again.

I lean above you as before,Faithful, my arms enfold.Oh, could you know that life is numb,Nor think that death is cold!

Senses of earth, how weak ye are!Joys, joys of Heaven how strong!Loves of the earth, how short and sad,Of Heaven how glad and long!

Heart of my heart! if earth or HeavenHad speech or language fineEnough, or death or life could giveMe symbol, sound, or sign

To reach you—thought, or touch, or eye,Body or soul—I 'd dieAgain, to make you understand:My darling!...