All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Because a Time may Come


THOUGHTFUL care for worn and weary,
Tender heart for others keep,
Lest sad mem'ry come before us
When our loved ones lie asleep,
With their hands together folded,
Heeding never touch of ours,
Nor kiss, nor tears, nor tender drooping
Of beloved buds and flowers.

Leave the bitter word unspoken;
So shalt thou be strangely glad
If there lies no backward shadow
On dead faces wan and sad—
If a pale lip has not quivered
For thy careless, hot reply,
And no tears for thy transgression
Ever dimmed a lidded eye.

Soon shall come no quick forgiveness,
As to-day, for you and me;

Though our tears and bitter wailing
Well attest our agony.
Calm and silent, calm and silent,
Never clod beloved wakes,
Though remorse sits close beside it,
And the heart repentant breaks.

Serve and wait, for when beyond us
Lives float off to yonder shore,
Never word or loving service
Can we render evermore.
And that river may be near us,
In this murky light unseen,
So let us strew along its borders
Boughs of living evergreen.