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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

A Wakeful Night

In the dark and the gloom when winds were fretting
   Like restless children worn out with play,
I said to my heart, ТThis task, forgetting--
   Is harder now than it is by day.
For a hungry love that hides from the light,
Like a tiger steals forth, and is bold at night.Т

The wind wailed low like a woman weeping;
   Deeper and darker the dense gloom grew.
And, oh! for the old, sweet nights of sleeping,
   When dreams were happy, and love was true.
Before the stars from heaven went out
In a sudden blackness of dread and doubt.

The wind wailed loud, like a madman shrieking,
   And I said to my heart, ТOh! vain, vain strife;
We cannot forget, and the peace we are seeking
   Can only be won at the end of life.
For see! like a lurid and living spark
The eyes of the tiger shine through the dark.Т

The wind sighed low like a sick man dying,
   And the dawn crept silently over the hill.
And I said, ТO heart! there is no use trying,
   We must remember, and love on still.Т
And the tiger, appeased with its midnight feast,
Fled as the dawn rose red in the East.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Eleusis
  3. But a Dream
  4. The Call (All wantonly in hours of joy)
  5. The Awakening (I love the tropics, where sun and rain)

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