Poem By Dora Sigerson Shorter
How restless are the dead whose silent feet will stray
In to our lone retreat or solitary way;
Within the dew-wet wood or sun-enchanted lane
We meet them face to face, we hear them speak again.
How powerful are the dead whose voices ever speak,
So softly by our side in accents faint and weak
They bid us go or stay, or do, or leave undone,
We hear them breathe our name ere dawn has well begun.
How silent are the dead when come accusing fears
To chide our aching hearts, to fill our days with tears
They hush not now our grief, nor heed us as we plead
For some unspoken word, or some ungentle deed.
Beside the golden fire they take the empty chair
They tread from room to room, they pass from stair to stair,
And when comes tranquil night to call to us to sleep
Within our pleasant dreams the restless dead will creep.
How pitiless the dead who come in dearest guise
And most belovéd ways before our wistful eyes;
To cry to us lost words that we remembered not,
To act again each scene that we had half forgot.
And should we seek to ease our heart with some caress
How timidly they fly and leave us loneliness
How fugitive the dead who at our stricken call
Hide in the chilly tomb and answer not at all.