i woke up with the thought
that the letter ‘o’
is a death mask
and that the pathless one
cannot claim me
so, i lay there and looked
at a spot of light
on the ceiling
then did i turn my head
to the window’s
gazed i through that dark glass
all silent and grim
lo, i shivered
awaiting a fresh hell
from the pit ‘neath
that dank earth
an answer came to me…
if the pit is ‘o’
gaping for me
and the death mask is ‘o’
then needs must they
add to two
i melded the two ‘o’s
i girded it
thrust in the pathless face
my loins to mouth
and its shame
then did i fall asleep
like a baby does
with the feeling
of sweet satisfaction
a slaked ‘amen’
An hour ago when the wind blew high
At my lady’s window a red leaf beat.
Then dropped at her door, where, passing by,
She carelessly trod it under her feet.
I have taken it out of the dust and dirt,
With a tender pity but half defined.
Ah! poor bruised leaf, with your stain and hurt,
‘A fellow-feeling doth make us kind.’
On winds of passion my heart was blown,
Like an autumn leaf one hapless day.
At my lady’s window with tap and moan
It burned and fluttered its life away.
Bright with the blood of its wasting tide
It glowed in the sun of her laughing eyes.
What cared she though a stray heart died –
What to her were its sobs and sighs.
The winds of passion were spent at last,
And my heart like the leaf in her pathway lay;
And under her slender foot as she passed,
My lady she trod it and went her way.
So I picked the leaf from its dusty place,
With a tender pity -too well defined.
And I laid it here in this velvet case,
Ah! a fellow-feeling doth make us kind.
by ELLA WHEELER WILCOX (1855-1919)
Public Domain Poetry