Tag Archive | death

Footsteps of Angels

A dear friend of mine passed away on New Year’s Eve. I am posting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Footsteps of Angels, in her honor.

FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

.

When the hours of day are numbered,

  And the voices of the night

Wake the better soul that slumbered

  To a holy, calm delight, —

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,

  And, like phantoms grim and tall,

Shadows from the fitful firelight

  Dance upon the parlor wall;

Then, the forms of the departed

  Enter at the open door, —

The beloved ones, the true-hearted,

  Come to visit me once more:

He, the young and strong, who cherished

  Noble longings for the strife,

By the roadside fell and perished,

  Weary with the march of life!

They, the holy ones and weakly,

  Who the cross of suffering bore,

Folded their pale hands so meekly,

  Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the being beauteous

  Who unto my youth was given,

More than all things else to love me,

  And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep

  Comes that messenger divine,

Takes the vacant chair beside me,

  Lays her gentle hand in mine;

And she sits and gazes at me

  With those deep and tender eyes,

Like the stars, so still and saint-like,

  Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended,

  Is the spirit’s voiceless prayer,

Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,

  Breathing from her lips of air.

O, though oft depressed and lonely,

  All my fears are laid aside

If I but remember only

  Such as these have lived and died!

Beyond

BEYOND

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It seemeth such a little way to me
Across to that strange country — the Beyond;
And yet, not strange, for it has grown to be
The home of those of whom I am so fond,
They make it seem familiar and most dear,
As journeying friends bring distant regions near.

So close it lies, that when my sight is clear
I think I almost see the gleaming strand.
I know I feel those who have gone from here
Come near enough sometimes, to touch my hand.
I often think, but for our veilèd eyes,
We should find Heaven right round about us lies.

I cannot make it seem a day to dread,
When from this dear earth I shall journey out
To that still dearer country of the dead,
And join the lost ones, so long dreamed about.
I love this world, yet shall I love to go
And meet the friends who wait for me, I know.

I never stand above a bier and see
The seal of death set on some well-loved face
But that I think, ‘One more to welcome me,
When I shall cross the intervening space
Between this land and that one “over there”;
One more to make the strange Beyond seem fair.’

And so for me there is no sting of death,
And so the grave has lost its victory.
It is but crossing–with a bated breath,
And white, set face–a little strip of sea,
To find the loved ones waiting on the shore,
More beautiful, more precious than before.