Dora Sigerson Shorter

(1866-1918 / Ireland)

At Pompeii - Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

At Pompeii I heard a woman laugh,
And turned to find the reason of her mirth;
Saw but the silent figure of a girl
That centuries had mummied into earth
The running figure of a little maid
With face half-hidden in her shielding arm,
Silent, yet screaming, yea, in ev'ry limb
The cruel torture of her dread alarm.
At Pompeii I heard a maiden shriek
All down the years from out the distant past;
Blind in the awful darkness still she runs;
Death in the mould of fear her form has cast.
A little maid once soft and sweet and white,
Full of the morning's hope, and love and joy,
That Nature, moving to the voice of Time,
Shook her dark wings to wither and destroy.
At Pompeii I saw a woman bend
Above this dead, pronounce an epitaph;
The mother of a child, it may have been.
Oh horrible! I heard a woman laugh.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010



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