Tag Archive | footsteps of angels

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.


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!