I think the leaf would sooner
   Be the first to break away,
Than to hang alone in the orchard
   In the bleak November day.
And I think the fate of the flower
   That falls in the midst of bloom
Is sweeter than if it lingered
   To die in the autumn's gloom.

Some glowing, golden morning
   In the heart of the summer time,
As I stand in the perfect vigor
   And strength of my youth's glad prime;
When my heart is light and happy,
   And the world seems bright to me,
I would like to drop from this earth-life,
   As a green leaf drops from the tree.

Some day, when the golden glory
   Of June is over the earth,
And the birds are singing together
   In a wild, mad strain of mirth,
When the skies are as clear and cloudless
   As the skies of June can be,
I would like to have the summons
   Sent down from God to me.

I would not wait for the furrows--
   For the faded eyes and hair;
But pass out swift and sudden,
   Ere I grow heart-sick with care;
I would break some morn in my singing--
   Or fall in my springing walk,
As a full-blown flower will sometimes
   Drop, all a-bloom, from the stalk.

And so, in my youth's glad morning,
   While the summer walks abroad,
I would like to hear the summons,
   That must come, sometime, from God.
I would pass from the earth's perfection
   To the endless June above;
From the fullness of living and loving,
   To the noon of Immortal Love.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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