Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

At Bay


Wife
Reach out your arms, and hold me close and fast.
Tell me there are no memories of your past
That mar this love of ours, so great, so vast.

Husband
Some truths are cheapened when too oft averred.
Does not the deed speak louder than the word?
(dear God, that old dream woke again and stirred.)

Wife
As you love me, you never loved before?
Though oft you say it, say it yet once more.
My heart is jealous of those days of yore.

Husband
Sweet wife, dear comrade, mother of my child,
My life is yours by memory undefiled.
(it stirs again, that passion brief and wild.)

Wife
You never knew a happier hour than this?
We two alone, our hearts surcharged with bliss,
Nor other kisses, sweet as my own kiss?

Husband
I was a thirsty field, long parched with drouth;
You were the warm rain, blowing from the south.
(But, ah, the crimson madness of her mouth!)

Wife
You would not, if you could, go down life’s track
For just one little moment and bring back
Some vanished rapture that you miss or lack?

Husband
I am content. You are my life, my all.
(One burning hour, but one, could I recall;
God, how men lie when driven to the wall!)

Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2003

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