A Burial

Today I had a burial of my dead. 
There was no shroud, no coffin, and no pall, 
No prayers were uttered and no tears were shed 
I only turned a picture to the wall. 

A picture that had hung within my room 
For years and years; a relic of my youth. 
It kept the rose of love in constant bloom 
To see those eyes of earnestness and truth. 

At hours wherein no other dared intrude, 
I had drawn comfort from its smiling grace. 
Silent companion of my solitude, 
My soul held sweet communion with that face. 

I lived again the dream so bright, so brief, 
Though wakened as we all are by some Fate; 
This picture gave me infinite relief, 
And did not leave me wholly desolate. 

To-day I saw an item, quite by chance, 
That robbed me of my pitiful poor dole: 
A marriage notice fell beneath my glance, 
And I became a lonely widowed soul. 

With drooping eyes, and cheeks a burning flame, 
I turned the picture to the blank wall’s gloom. 
My very heart had died in me of shame, 
If I had left it smiling in my room. 

Another woman’s husband. So, my friend, 
My comfort, my sole relic of the past, 
I bury thee, and, lonely, seek the end. 
Swift age has swept my youth from me at last. 
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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