Despair

Alone! Alone! No beacon, far or near!
   No chart, no compass, and no anchor stay!
   Like melting fog the mirage melts away
In all-surrounding darkness, void and clear.
Drifting, I spread vain hands, and vainly peer
   And vainly call for pilot, -- weep and pray;
   Beyond these limits not the faintest ray
Shows distant coast whereto the lost may steer.

O what is life, if we must hold it thus
   As wind-blown sparks hold momentary fire?
   What are these gifts without the larger boon?
O what is art, or wealth, or fame to us
   Who scarce have time to know what we desire?
   O what is love, if we must part so soon?

by Ada Cambridge

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