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Poem by Sarah Orne Jewett

The Widow's House

    (At Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

WHAT of this house with massive walls
  And small-paned windows, gay with blooms?
A quaint and ancient aspect falls
  Like pallid sunshine through the rooms.

Not this new country's rush and haste
  Could breed, one thinks, so still a life;
Here is the old Moravian home,
  A placid foe of strife.

For this roof covers, night and day,
  The widowed women poor and old,
The mated without mates, who say
  Their light is out, their story told.

To these the many mansions seem
  Dear household fires that cannot die;
They wait through separation dark
  An endless union by and by.

Each window has its watcher wan
  To fit the autumn afternoon,
The dropping poplar leaves, the dream
  Of spring that faded all too soon.

Upon the highest window-ledge
  A glowing scarlet flower shines down.
Oh, wistful sisterhood, whose home
  Has sanctified this quiet town!

Oh, hapless household, gather in
  The tired-hearted and the lone!
What broken homes, what sundered love,
  What disappointment you have known!

They count their little wealth of hope
  And spend their waiting days in peace,
What comfort their poor loneliness
  Must find in every soul's release!

And when the wailing trombones go
  Along the street before the dead
In that Moravian custom quaint,
  They smile because a soul has fled

Sarah Orne Jewett

Sarah Orne Jewett's other poems:
  1. Boat Song
  2. In a Christmas Letter
  3. A Child's Grave
  4. The Spendthrift Doll
  5. Together

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