Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
V. Death and Bereavement
“If I should die to-night”
Belle E. Smith
 
                IF I should die to-night,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting-place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair;
And, laying snow-white flowers against my hair,        5
Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,
And fold my hands with lingering caress—
Poor hands, so empty and so cold to-night!
 
                If I should die to-night,
My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,        10
Some kindly deed the icy hands had wrought;
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;
Errands on which the willing feet had sped;
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put aside,        15
And so I should be loved and mourned to-night.
 
                If I should die to-night,
Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me,
Recalling other days remorsefully;
The eyes that chill me with averted glance        20
Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,
And soften, in the old familiar way;
For who could war with dumb, unconscious clay?
So I might rest, forgiven of all, to-night.
 
                Oh, friends, I pray to-night,        25
Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow—
The way is lonely; let me feel them now.
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn;
My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.
Forgive, oh, hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!        30
When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need
The tenderness for which I long to-night.
 
 
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