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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Reticence of the Dead


   Although I have been sweetly comforted
   By messages that came to me from space,
   Anent the life of that transcendent place,
   Yet when the utmost has been done and said,
   There is a strange reserve about our dead;
   A reticence, whose cause I can but trace
   To our own lack of comprehending grace;
   Our failure to attain the paths they tread.
   Freed from both Time and Space, those beings live
   Where speech needs but the vehicle of thought
   To tell all kindred souls what they should know.
   But, when we call they come to us, and give
   Some portions of those truths which we have sought,
      Then sudden, wrapt in reticence, they go.


   Our atmosphere--our language--all is dense
   To those unfettered souls in Ether clad;
   Our clumsy ways of speech to them seem sad--
   So large has grown their vision--so intense;
   So wide their knowledge of death's recompense
   They wonder why small proofs should make us glad,
   Forgetting that vast sorrow we have had
   In loss of them (and in their reticence).
   Oh, my dear dead, you have been kind--so kind--
   Bringing to my poor broken heart the proof
   Of Life Eternal. Now show me the way
   To that high Realm where thought is unconfined,
   And Soul from Soul no longer stands aloof:
      There is so much--so much for us to say. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. The Chain
  3. At Forty-Eight
  4. Artist and Man
  5. As by Fire

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