Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
Only Waiting
Frances Laughton Mace (1836–1899)
   [A very aged man in an almshouse was asked what he was doing now. He replied, “Only waiting.”]

ONLY waiting till the shadows
  Are a little longer grown,
Only waiting till the glimmer
  Of the day’s last beam is flown;
Till the night of earth is faded        5
  From the heart, once full of day;
Till the stars of heaven are breaking
  Through the twilight soft and gray.
Only waiting till the reapers
  Have the last sheaf gathered home,        10
For the summer time is faded,
  And the autumn winds have come.
Quickly, reapers! gather quickly
  The last ripe hours of my heart,
For the bloom of life is withered,        15
  And I hasten to depart.
Only waiting till the angels
  Open wide the mystic gate,
At whose feet I long have lingered,
  Weary, poor, and desolate.        20
Even now I hear the footsteps,
  And their voices far away;
If they call me, I am waiting,
  Only waiting to obey.
Only waiting till the shadows        25
  Are a little longer grown,
Only waiting till the glimmer
  Of the day’s last beam is flown.
Then from out the gathered darkness,
  Holy, deathless stars shall rise,        30
By whose light my soul shall gladly
  Tread its pathway to the skies.

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