Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!
Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?
Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
"Poor wanderer," said the leaden sky, "I fain would lighten thee, But there are laws in force on high Which say it must not be."
--"I would not freeze thee, shorn one," cried The North, "knew I but how To warm my breath, to slack my stride; But I am ruled as thou."
--"To-morrow I attack thee, wight," Said Sickness. "Yet I swear I bear thy little ark no spite, But am bid enter there."
--"Come hither, Son," I heard Death say; "I did not will a grave Should end thy pilgrimage to-day, But I, too, am a slave!"
We smiled upon each other then, And life to me had less Of that fell look it wore ere when They owned their passiveness.