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(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

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Good-bye – Yes, I am going,
Sudden? Well, you are right.
But a startling truth came home to me
With sudden force last night.
What is it? shall I tell you? –
Nay, that is why I go.
I am running away from the battlefield,
Turning my back on the foe.
Riddles? You think me cruel!
Have you not been most kind?
Why, when you question me like that,
What answer can I find?
You fear you failed to amuse me,
Your husband’s friend and guest,
Whom he bade you entertain and please –
Well, you have done your best.

Then, why, you ask, am I going?
A friend of mine abroad,
Whose theories I have been acting upon,
Has proven himself a fraud.
You have heard me quote from Plato
A thousand times no doubt;
Well, I have discovered he did not know
What he was talking about.

You think I am speaking strangely?
You cannot understand?
Well, let me look down into your eyes,
And let me take your hand.
I am running away from danger –
I am flying before I fall;
I am going because with heart and soul
I love you – that is all.

There, now, you are white with anger.
I knew it would be so.
You should not question a man too close
When he tells you he must go.

Submitted: Friday, May 23, 2003


Read poems about / on: running, husband, anger, friend, truth, fear, home, night

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