Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
HOW prone we are to hide and hoard
Each little treasure time has stored,
    To tell of happy hours!
We lay aside with tender care
A tattered book, a lock of hair,        5
    A bunch of faded flowers.
When death has led with silent hand
Our darlings to the “Silent Land,”
    Awhile we sit bereft;
But time goes on; anon we rise,        10
Our dead are buried from our eyes,
    We gather what is left.
The books they loved, the songs they sang,
The little flute whose music rang
    So cheerily of old;        15
The pictures we had watched them paint,
The last plucked flower, with odor faint,
    That fell from fingers cold.
We smooth and fold with reverent care
The robes they living used to wear;        20
    And painful pulses stir
As o’er the relics of our dead,
With bitter rain of tears, we spread
    Pale purple lavender.
And when we come in after years,        25
With only tender April tears
    On cheeks once white with care,
To look on treasures put away
Despairing on that far-off day,
    A subtile scent is there.        30
Dew-wet and fresh we gather them,
These fragrant flowers; now every stem
    Is bare of all its bloom:
Tear-wet and sweet we strewed them here
To lend our relics, sacred, dear,        35
    Their beautiful perfume.
The scent abides on book and lute,
On curl and flower, and with its mute
    But eloquent appeal
    It wins from us a deeper sob        40
For our lost dead, a sharper throb
    Than we are wont to feel.
It whispers of the “long ago;”
Its love, its loss, its aching woe,
    And buried sorrows stir;        45
And tears like those we shed of old
Roll down our cheeks as we behold
    Our faded lavender.

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