Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

(25 November 1875 – 15 August 1928 / Canada)

The Town Between - Poem by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

A WALL impregnable surrounds
The Town wherein I dwell;
No man may scale it and it has
Two gates that guard it well.

One opened long ago, and I
A vagrant soul, slipped through,
Bewildered and forgetting all
The wider world I knew.

I love the Town, the narrow ways,
The common, yellow sun,
The handclasp and the jesting and
The work that must be done!

I shun the other gate that stands
Beyond the crowded mart--
I need but glance that way to feel
Cold fingers on my heart!

It stands alone and somberly
Within a shaded place,
And every man who turns that way
Has quiet on his face.

And every man must rise and leave
His pleasant homely door
To vanish through this silent gate
And enter in no more--

Yet--once--I saw its opening throw
A brighter light about
And glimpsed strange glory on the brow
Of someone passing out!

I wonder if Outside may be
One fair and great demesne
Where both gates open, careless of
The Town that lies between?

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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