Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

His Youth - Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Dying? I am not dying. Are you mad?
You think I need to ask for heavenly grace?
\I\ think \you\ are a fiend, who would be glad
To see me struggle in death's cold embrace.

'But, man you lie! for I am strong-in truth
Stronger than I have been in years; and soon
I shall feel young again as in my youth,
My glorious youth-life's one great priceless boon.

'O youth, youth, youth! O God, that golden time,
When proud and glad I laughed the hours away.
Why, there's no sacrifice (perhaps no crime)
I'd pause at, could it make me young to-day.

'But I'm not \old\! I grew-just ill, somehow;
Grew stiff of limb, and weak, and dim of sight.
It was but sickness. I am better now,
Oh, vastly better, ever since last night.

'And I could weep warm floods of happy tears
To think my strength is coming back at last,
For I have dreamed of such an hour for years,
As I lay thinking of my glorious past.

'You shake your head? Why, man, if you were sane
I'd strike you to my feet, I would, in truth.
How dare you tell me that my hopes are vain?
How dare you say I have outlived my youth?

''In heaven I may regain it?' Oh, be still!
I want no heaven but what my glad youth gave.
Its long, bright hours, its rapture and its thrill-
O youth, youth, youth! it is my \youth\ I crave.

'There is no heaven! There's nothing but a deep
And yawning grave from which I shrink in fear.
I am not sure of even rest or sleep;
Perhaps we lie and \think\, as I have here.

'Think, think, think, think, as we lie there and rot,
And hear the young above us laugh in glee.
How dare you say I'm dying! \I am not\.
I would curse God if such a thing could be.

'Why, see me stand! why, hear this strong, full breath-
Dare you repeat that silly, base untruth?'
A cry-a fall-the silence known as death
Hushed his wild words. Well, has he found his youth?

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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