She has the look of corpse but while
She hold my hand and weakly squeeze a palm,
Partial phrase unintelligible—smile
As through those slits of eyes and then a calm
Whisper of “I’m okay,” the only words
To come today, and those exceeding weak--
How can it be
That one who lies so ill, and scarce affords
A syllable, because and she do speak
It wear her down, tell such a pleasantry?
It were exhaustion and her illness
But cause her, with cessation coming rare
To moan with every breath, and only stillness
Gives her that calm, the while her soul prepare
For its forthcoming journey. Ah, my sweet,
It were good fortune did it come today
So thou may leave
Before the doctor come, and he entreat
Thee, by profession, that thou hast to stay,
For so he wills: do last another eve.
It is a long and langorous
Decay of that which were a beautiful
Dear creature, now reduced by illness thus,
By time and illness, deadened by a dull
Monotony whilst thou canst hardly breathe--
Dementia in the mind but drug induced,
A crystal clear intelligence doth seethe
Unable to express itself, diffused
By medication as muffle a mind.
Sweet gentle creature, and I pray
An angel from the Lord may visit soon,
To clasp thy spirit, carry it away,
For, when the dying’s hard, death come a boon.
I may not force the moment, or to tease
Fate yet the moment come without my help,
For slight distraction
Cause great discomfort, and though it appease
Thy will to die, I hate to see thee yelp
Therefore of silence will make no infraction.
Dear gentle soul, for very long
Thou hast endured debility and weakness,
And with a quiet courage proved yet strong
With attitude of truly Christian meekness--
How I do wish the time might come today,
Yet as the Lord do not determine it,
I can but do
On thy behalf, while visiting this way
Upon the chair at bedside by thee sit,
And pray that God his mercy follow through.
How can it be, a smile so weak
Yet penetrate the eyelids nearly closed
As single sentence so I heard thee speak,
And felt such joy I never had supposed.
Thou sweet and gentle dove, fly softly, flee
Away from all this realm of desolation
In which thou hast
So long persisted and endured as be
Miraculous, though present enervation
Tell me the sun be setting soon at last.
Before didst speak thy words, so there
Proceeded, as I stood beside thy bed
A simple spoken “I love you,” aware
That you had wakened, so my words I said.
Then, what you tried to say, but failed, I not
Determine, nor it matter much perhaps
Because it were
The smile nonverbal from eyes which forth shot
Unto mine eyes, told much, then there elapse
A moment, then didst “I’m okay” confer.
A blessing unto thee. May heaven
So smile upon thee, gentle precious dove,
As thou upon my life hast done so, even
Upon the brink of death: then that is love.
It is a blessing that I long to keep,
The company of such a gentle soul,
The Lord and thy disease call thee to sleep,
Eternal sleep, and heaven takes its toll
Only by miracles, in true love’s debt.