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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Well, how has it been with you since we met
    That last strange time of a hundred times?
When we met to swear that we could forget---
    I your caresses, and you my rhymes---
The rhyme of my lays that rang like a bell,
And the rhyme of my heart with yours, as well?

How has it been since we drank that last kiss,
    That was bitter with lees of the wasted wine;
When the tattered remains of a threadbare bliss,
    And the worn-out shreds of a joy divine,
With a year's best dreams and hopes, were cast
Into the ragbag of the Past?

Since Time, the rag-buyer, hurried away
    With a chuckle of glee at the bargain made,
Did you discover, like me, one day,
    That hid in the folds of those garments frayed
With priceless jewels and diadems---
The soul's best treasures, the heart's best gems?

Have you, too, found that you could not supply
    The place of those jewels so rare and chaste?
Do all that you borrow, or beg, or buy,
    Prove to be nothing but skilful paste?
Have you found pleasure, as I find art,
Not all sufficient to fill your heart?

Do you sometimes sigh for that tattered shreds
    Of the old delight that we cast away,
And find no worth in the silken threads
    Of newer fabrics we wear to-day?
Have you thought the bitter of that last kiss
Better than sweets of a later bliss?

What idle queries!---or yes or no---
    Whatever your answer, I understand
That there is no pathway by which we can go
    Back to the dead past's wonderland;
And the gems he purchased from me and you,
There is no rebuying, from Time the Jew. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Bed
  2. The Plow of God
  3. The Fault of the Age
  4. Be Not Attached
  5. Baby Eva

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