Bliss Carman, et al., eds. The Worlds Best Poetry. Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation. 1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
The Two Mysteries
Mary Mapes Dodge (18311905)
[In the middle of the room, in its white coffin, lay the dead child, the nephew of the poet. Near it, in a great chair, sat Walt Whitman, surrounded by little ones, and holding a beautiful little girl on his lap. She looked wonderingly at the spectacle of death, and then inquiringly into the old mans face. You dont know what it is, do you, my dear? said he, and added, We dont, either.]
WE know not what it is, dear, this sleep so deep and still;
The folded hands, the awful calm, the cheek so pale and chill;
The lids that will not lift again, though we may call and call;
The strange white solitude of peace that settles over all.
We know not what it means, dear, this desolate heart-pain;