I stand and guard—such ones as say
In matter lives no spirit, lie;
The household through me throbs and beats,
The meaning of the crowded streets
Is plain, and once a year I may
Admit the beings of the sky.
Lost souls revisiting the earth
To see old loves that they be well,
And find their hold upon the heart,
In life so strong, in death depart;
Wherefore with peals of soundless mirth
Goes each one to his place in hell.
The curtain on a winter's night
Struggles and beats as if it fought
In every fold a power of air;
The unseen fills each vacant chair;
The living lavish not a thought
On those that are not in their sight.
Life and dark death go hand in hand,
Believe or disbelieve my tale,—
How Death is Life, how Life is Death,
How that the spirit wandereth,
How bolts and bars may not prevail
To guard us from the Other Land.