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Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

The Skeleton in the Cupboard

Just this one day in all the year
Let all be one, let all be dear;
Wife, husband, child in fond embrace,
And thrust the phantom from its place.
No bitter words, no frowning brow,
Disturb the Christmas festal, now
The skeletons behind the door.

Nor let the child, with looks askance,
Find out its sad inheritance
From souls that held no happiness,
Of home, where love is seldom guest;
But in his coming years retain
This one sweet night that had no pain;
The skeletons behind the door.

In vain you raise the wassail bowl,
And pledge your passion, soul to soul.
You hear the sweet bells ring in rhyme,
You wreath the room for Christmas time
In vain.  The solemn silence falls,
The death watch ticks within the walls;
The skeleton taps on the door.

Then let him back into his place,
Let us sit out the old disgrace;
Nor seek the phantom now to lay,
That haunted us through every day;
For plainer is the ghost; useless
Is this pretence of happiness;
The skeleton taps on the door.

Dora Sigerson Shorter

Dora Sigerson Shorter's other poems:
  1. The Kine of My Father
  2. An Imperfect Revolution
  3. You Will Not Come Again
  4. Sixteen Dead Men
  5. The Fairy Changeling

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