Menella Bute Smedley

The Future

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A figure wanders through my dreams
And wears a veil upon its face,
Still bending to my breast it seems,
Yet ever turns from my embrace.
And sometimes, passing from my sight,
It lifts the veil as it departs,
And eyes flash out with such a light
As never dawned on waking hearts.
There is no need of sound or speech
Or toiling through the troubled years,
The rapture of that smile can teach
More than a century of tears.
And this I know, if it could move
Out of my dreams into my days,
One service of unbroken love
Should fill and crown my life with praise.
Love with no doubts and no demands,
But generous as a southern June,—
Vast brotherhood of hearts and hands,
Choir of a world in perfect tune—
No shallow sunset-films to gild
Far summits which we dare not climb,
But ceaseless charms of hope fulfilled,
Making a miracle of time.
How sure, how calm, the picture seems!
How near it comes, beheld, possessed!
It is not only in my dreams
I feel that touch upon my breast.
It thrills me through the barren day,
It holds me in the heart of strife,
No phantom-grasp that melts away,
It seems—it is—the touch of Life!
We look into the heart of flowers
And wonder whence their bloom can rise;
The secret hope of human hours
Is hidden deeper from our eyes.
In helpless tracts of wind and rain
The work goes on without a sound;
And while you weep your weak “In vain,”
The flower is growing underground.
We know the lesson; but a cry,
Bitter and vast, is in our ears;
One life of fruitless misery
Shakes all our wisdom into tears.
Thronged by the clamorous griefs that say,
“Behold what is, forget what seems,”
I can but answer, “Welladay;
There is that figure in my dreams.”

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Menella Bute Smedley