Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXV. Bitter Remembrance
‘I in the greyness rose’
By Stephen Phillips (1868–1915)
I IN the greyness rose;
I could not sleep for thinking of one dead.
Then to the chest I went,
Where lie the things of my beloved spread.
Quietly these I took;        5
A little glove, a sheet of music torn,
Paintings, ill-done perhaps;
Then lifted up a dress that she had worn.
And now I came to where
Her letters are; they lie beneath the rest;        10
And read them in the haze;
She spoke of many things, was sore opprest.
But these things moved me not;
Not when she spoke of being parted quite,
Or being misunderstood,        15
Or growing weary of the world’s great fight.
Not even when she wrote
Of our dead child, and the handwriting swerved;
Not even then I shook:
Not even by such words was I unnerved.        20
I thought, she is at peace;
Whither the child is gone, she too has passed.
And a much needed rest
Is fallen upon her, she is still at last.
But when at length I took        25
From under all those letters one small sheet,
Folded and writ in haste;
Why did my heart with sudden sharpness beat?
Alas, it was not sad!
Her saddest words I had read calmly o’er.        30
Alas, it had no pain!
Her painful words, all these I knew before.
A hurried happy line!
A little jest, too slight for one so dead:
This did I not endure:        35
Then with a shuddering heart no more I read.

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