A Celebration of Women Writers

"Dead–and Living." by Norah M. Holland (1876-1925)
From: Spun-Yarn And Spindrift. by Norah M. Holland. London & Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918, pp. 40-41.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 40] 


The Question

IF we should tap on your pane to-night, dear,
  Standing here in the dark outside,
As in the far-off days and bright, dear,
  Say, would you fling the window wide ?

Nay, you would turn to the firelight's gold, dear,
  Saying, "'Tis but a dream that fled;"
Deep we lie in the churchyard mould, dear,
  Who shall remember to love the dead ?

(Ah, the dead, who shall come no more, dear,
  Gone and forgotten, so you say–
Standing here in the dark at your door, dear,–
  Dead and forgotten and gone for aye.)

Your hours pass with laughter and song, dear,
  Do we blame you that you forget ?
All our years are empty and long, dear,
  We, in our graves, remember yet.

We remember, and ofttimes rise, dear,
  From our beds 'neath the churchyard sod,
Walking ever, with wistful eyes, dear,
  Old-time ways that in life we trod.

[Page 41] 

We remember, who are forgot, dear–
  Do we blame you that you forget ?
How should we live in your lightest thought, dear ?
  Only–the dead remember yet.

The Reply

Do we forget?–We cannot hear your call;
  Your tap upon the pane
Sounds to our ears but as the leaves that fall,
  Or beat of sobbing rain.

We cannot see you standing at the door,
  Or passing through the gloom;
We strain our ears, yet hear your step no more
  In the familiar room.

And seeing not–but waiting, with a numb,
  Bewildered heart and brain,
And hearing not–but only winds that come
  And wail against the pane,

And dreaming of you in some brighter sphere
  We–we, too–grieve and fret
That you, whom still we hold so dear, so dear,
  Should all so soon forget.

[Page 42]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom