Marguerite Wilkinson: Songs of an Empty House

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Songs of an Empty House

Marguerite Wilkinson


Before I die I may be great,
The chanting guest of kings,
A queen in wonderlands of song
Where every blossom sings.
I may put on a golden gown
And walk in sunny light,
Carrying in my hair the day,
And in my eyes the night.
It may be men will honor me —
The wistful ones and wise,
Who know the ruth of victory,
The joy of sacrifice.
I may be rich, I may be gay,
But all the crowns grow old —
The laurel withers and the bay
And dully rusts the gold.
Before I die I may break bread
With many queens and kings —
Oh, take the golden gown away,
For there are other things —
And I shall miss the love of babes
With flesh of rose and pearl,
The dewy eyes, the budded lips —
A boy, a little girl.

The End

My father got me strong and straight and slim,
And I give thanks to him;
My mother bore me glad and sound and sweet, —
I kiss her feet.
But now, with me, their generation fails,
And nevermore avails
To cast through me the ancient mould again,
Such women and men.
I have no son, whose life of flesh and fire
Sprang from my splendid sire,
No daughter for whose soul my mother's flesh
Wrought raiment fresh.
Life's venerable rhythms like a flood
Beat in my brain and blood,
Crying from all the generations past,
"Is this the last?"
And I make answer to my haughty dead,
Who made me, heart and head,
"Even the sunbeams falter, flicker and bend —
I am the end."
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