Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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

The Maniac


I saw them sitting in the shade;
The long green vines hung over,
But could not hide the gold-haired maid
And Earl, my dark-eyed lover.
His arm was clasped so close, so close,
Her eyes were softly lifted,
While his eyes drank the cheek of rose
And breasts like snowflakes drifted.

A strange noise sounded in my brain;
I was a guest unbidden.
I stole away, but came again
With two knives snugly hidden.
I stood behind them. Close they kissed,
While eye to eye was speaking;
I aimed my steels, and neither missed
The heart I sent it seeking.

There were two death-shrieks mingled so
It seemed like one voice crying.
I laughed-it was such bliss, you know,
To hear and see them dying.
I laughed and shouted while I stood
Above the lovers, gazing
Upon the trickling rills of blood
And frightened eyes fast glazing.

It was such joy to see the rose
Fade from her cheek forever;
To know the lips he kissed so close
Could answer never, never.
To see his arm grow stark and cold,
And know it could not hold her;
To know that while the world grew old
His eyes could not behold her.

A crowd of people thronged about,
Brought thither by my laughter;
I gave one last triumphant shout-
Then darkness followed after.
That was a thousand years ago;
Each hour I live it over,
For there, just out of reach, you know,

She
lies, with Earl, my lover.

They lie there, staring, staring so
With great, glazed eyes to taunt me.
Will no one bury them down low,
Where they shall cease to haunt me?
He kissed her lips, not mine; the flowers
And vines hung all about them
Sometimes I sit and laugh for hours
To think just how I found them.

And then I sometimes stand and shriek
In agony of terror:
I see the red warm in her cheek,
Then laugh loud at my error.
My cheek was all too pale he thought;
He deemed hers far the brightest.
Ha! but my dagger touched a spot
That made
her
face the whitest!

But oh, the days seem very long,
Without my Earl, my lover;
And something in my head seems wrong
The more I think it over.
Ah! look-she is not dead-look there!
She's standing close beside me!
Her eyes are open-how they stare!
Oh, hide me! hide me! hide me!

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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