I cut an artery in my arm and sucked its blood.
The thirstness did not cease. They lied.
‘Twas not the vultures at Prometeus’ heart,
’twas hunger at his vitals gnawed. The
salt drops that I swallowed from that vein have set
my brain on fire. What’s that? The
ground’s a-tremble ’neath my feet as touched
with life. Earth, rend your breast and let me
in! For anything but this dire darkness, made
alive with vengeful eye-balls—his eyes!
They glare with hate at me. I heard him laugh
but now. For anything but this most loving corpse
whose head caressing rests it on my feet. Ah,
no, I did not mean it thus; I would not get away alone.
I loved that corpse. It was the sweetest bit
of human frailty that to man e’er brought a blessing
or a curse. I turned from Dias’ holy grail
to taste its nectar. Hell, throw a-wide your
sulphur-blazoned gates, I’ll grasp it in my
arms and make the plunge! Hist! what was that?
I heard him laugh again. Laugh, fiend, you cannot
hurt me more. Ah! Reyenita, mine in life
you were, in death you shall be mine. When this
clogged blood has stopped the wheels of life, I’ll
put my arms around your neck, I’ll lay my face
against your frozen one, and thus I’ll die.
When this foul place has crumbled to the sunlight,
some relic-hunting lunatic will stumble o’er
our bones, and pitiless will weave a tale for eyes
more pitiless to read. Back, Stygian ghoul!
Death’s on me now. I feel his rattle in
my throat! My limbs are blocks of ice! My
heart has tuned it with the muffled dead-march drum!
A jar of crashing worlds is in my ears! A drowsy
faintness creeps upon—
* * * * *
The seal is broken, the mystery
You have read the letters,
what do they tell?
Do they tell you the story
they told that day
To me, in the Mission old
Mission Carmel at Monterey?
If that thy hand with heart-will sought,
To work with Christ-love underlying,
But ere thou hadst accomplished aught
Time passed thee by while vainly trying,
The wasted hour, the vain
Will wait thee in the far
If thou hadst toiled from dawn till eve,
But felt no thrill of joy in giving
No heart made glad, no want relieved,
Lived but for selfish love of living,
Though idle hours went by
The hours are lost to thee
* * * * *
I hear her rocking the baby—
Her room is just next to mine—
And I fancy I feel the dimpled arms
That round her neck entwine,
As she rocks, and rocks the baby,
In the room just next to mine.
I hear her rocking the baby
Each day when the twilight comes,
And I know there’s a world of blessing and love
In the “baby bye” she hums.
I can see the restless fingers
Playing with “mamma’s rings,”
And the sweet little smiling, pouting mouth,
That to hers in kissing clings,
As she rocks and sings to the baby,
And dreams as she rocks and sings.