If we knew the woe and heartache
Waiting for us down the road,
If our lips could taste the wormwood,
If our backs could feel the load,
Would we waste the day in wishing
For a time that ne’er can be?
Would we wait in such impatience
For our ships to come from sea?
If we knew the baby fingers
Pressed against the windowpane
Would be cold and stiff tomorrow-
Never trouble us again-
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow?
Would the print of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?
Ah! These little ice-cold fingers-
How they point our memories back
To the hasty words and actions
Strewn along our backwards track!
How these little hands remind us,
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns-but roses-
For our reaping by and by.
Strange we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown;
Strange that we should slight the violets
Till the lovely flowers are gone;
Strange that summer skies and sunshine
Never seem one half so fair
As when winter’s snowy pinions
Shake their white down in the air!
Lips from which the seal of silence
None but God can roll away,
Never blossomed in such beauty
As adorns the mouth today;
And sweet words that freight our memory
With their beautiful perfume,
Come to us in sweeter accents
Through the portals of the tomb.
Let us gather up the sunbeams
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff;
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.
- May Riley Smith