FEBRUARY 6, 1881
Come not again! I dwell with you
Above the realm of frost and dew,
Of pain and fire, and growth to death.
I dwell with you where never breath
Is drawn, but fragrance vital flows
From life to life, even as a rose
Unseen pours sweetness through each vein
And from the air distills again.
You are my rose unseen; we live
Where each to other joy may give
In ways untold, by means unknown
And secret as the magnet-stone.
For which of us, indeed, is dead?
No more I lean to kiss your head -
The gold-red hair so thick upon it;
Joy feels no more the touch that won it
When o'er my brow your pearl-cool palm
In tenderness so childish, calm,
Crept softly, once. Yet, see, my arm
Is strong, and still my blood runs warm.
I still can work, and think and weep.
But all this show of life I keep
Is but the shadow of your shine,
Flicker of your fire, husk of your vine;
Therefore, you are not dead, nor I
Who hear your laughter's minstrelsy.
Among the stars your feet are set;
Your little feet are dancing yet
Their rhythmic beat, as when on earth.
So swift, so slight are death and birth!
Come not again, dear child. If thou
By any chance couldst break that vow
Of silence at thy last hour made;
If to this grim life unafraid
Thou couldst return, and melt the frost
Wherein thy bright limbs' power was lost;
Still would I whisper - since so fair
This silent comradeship we share -
Yes, whisper 'mid the unbidden rain
Of tears: "Come not, come not again!"