Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

From the Grave


When the first sere leaves of the year were falling,

I heard, with a heart that was strangely thrilled,

Out of the grave of a dead Past calling,

A voice I fancied forever stilled.

All through winter and spring and summer,

Silence hung over that grave like a pall,

But, borne on the breath of the last sad comer,

I listen again to the old-time call.

It is only a love of a by-gone season,

A senseless folly that mocked at me

A reckless passion that lacked all reason,

So I killed it, and hid it where none could see.

I smothered it first to stop its crying,

Then stabbed it through with a good sharp blade,

And cold and pallid I saw it lying,

And deep—ah' deep was the grave I made.

But now I know that there is no killing

A thing like Love, for it laughs at Death.

There is no hushing, there is no stilling

That which is part of your life and breath.

You may bury it deep, and leave behind you

The land, the people, that knew your slain;

It will push the sods from its grave, and find you

On wastes of water or desert plain.

You may hear but tongues of a foreign people,

You may list to sounds that are strange and new;

But, clear as a silver bell in a steeple,

That voice from the grave shall call to you.

You may rouse your pride, you may use your reason.

And seem for a space to slay Love so;

But, all in its own good time and season,

It will rise and follow wherever you go.

You shall sit sometimes, when the leaves are falling,

Alone with your heart, as I sit to-day,

And hear that voice from your dead Past calling

Out of the graves that you hid away.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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  • Bruno Okal (9/14/2012 11:36:00 PM)

    Ella, has quoted love severally, but this poem goes beyond love and lover. It so teaches my present not to do what i will regret tomorrow. No matter how secretive we keep our past follies, they will always haunt our future. I so wish i read this earlier (Report) Reply

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