Ina Coolbrith

1841 – 1928 / Nauvoo, Illinois


Youth that is sweetest lies chill, lies still in death:
Close and clear eyelids upon the tender eyes;
And hush the pleadings on murmur answereth,
And still the kisses that wake no warm replies.

White-limbed he lieth, dead youth-so strong, so fair:
And O, for the slumber that woke to happy days!
And O, the moonlights-O, golden dreams that were!
And O, the glory of live's long, pleasant ways!

Fair were the faces his eyes have looked upon;
But these are haggard, and wan, and very sad,
Sweet the love-laughters, and red lips he won;
But here is silence of lips no longer glad.

So, part the branches, where light falls long between,
And plait the grasses about his feet and head;
Here his loved summer shall wear her softest green,
And winds just ruffle the fringes of his bed.

His were the roses washed sweeter in the dew,
And his the rapture life knoweth not again;
But ours the tempest, the skies no longer blue,
For tender sunlight, and tender, falling rain.
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