Could I but hear you laugh across the street,
Though I, or mine, shared nothing in your glee,
Could I taste that one drop of bitter sweet,
    'Twere more than life to me.

If I might see you coming through the door,
Though with averted face and smileless eye,
Were I allowed that little boon, no more,
    Then I were glad to die.

But oh, my God! this living day on day,
Stripped of the only joy your starved heart had,
Shut in a prison world and forced to stay--
    Why that way souls go mad!

To-day I heard a woman say the earth,
All blossom garlanded, was fair to see.
I laughed with such intensity of mirth,
    The woman shrank from me.

Fair? Why, I see the blackness of the tomb
Where'er I turn, and grave mould on each brow;
And grinning faces peer out of the gloom--
    Good God! I am mad now.

Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.

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