To CLARISSA SCOTT DELANY
By ANGELINA W. GRIMKE
She has not found herself a hard pillow
And a long hard bed,
A chilling cypress, a wan willow
For her gay young head...
These are for the dead.
Does the violet-lidded twilight die
And the piercing dawn
And the white clear moon and the night- blue sky. . .
When they are gone?
Does the shimmering note
In the shy, shy throat
Of the swaying bird?
O, does children's laughter
Live not after
It is heard?
Does the dear, dear shine upon dear, dear things,
In the eyes, on the hair,
On waters, on wings .
Live no more anywhere?
Does the tang of the sea, the breath of frail flowers,
Of fern crushed, of clover,
Of grasses at dark, of the earth after showers
Not linger, not hover?
Does the beryl in tarns, the soft orchid in haze,
The primrose through tree-tops, the unclouded jade
Of the north sky, all earth's flamings and russets and grays
Simply smudge out and fade?
And all loveliness, all sweetness, all grace,
All the gay questing, all wonder, all dreaming,
They that cup beauty that veiled opaled vase,
Are they only the soul of a seeming?
O, hasn't she found just a little, thin door
And passed through and closed it between?
O, aren't those her light feet upon that light floor,
... That her laughter? . . . O, doesn't she lean
As we do to listen? . . . O, doesn't it mean
She is only unseen, unseen?
Published in Ebony and Topaz, 1927