Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
Heaven
Nancy Amelia Woodbury Priest Wakefield (1836–1870)
 
BEYOND these chilling winds and gloomy skies,
  Beyond death’s cloudy portal,
There is a land where beauty never dies,
  Where love becomes immortal;
 
A land whose life is never dimmed by shade,        5
  Whose fields are ever vernal;
Where nothing beautiful can ever fade,
  But blooms for aye eternal.
 
We may know how sweet its balmy air,
  How bright and fair its flowers;        10
We may not hear the songs that echo there,
  Through those enchanted bowers.
 
The city’s shining towers we may not see
  With our dim earthly vision,
For Death, the silent warder, keeps the key        15
  That opes the gates elysian.
 
But sometimes, when adown the western sky
  A fiery sunset lingers,
Its golden gates swing inward noiselessly,
  Unlocked by unseen fingers.        20
 
And while they stand a moment half ajar,
  Gleams from the inner glory
Stream brightly through the azure vault afar,
  And half reveal the story.
 
O land unknown! O land of love divine!        25
  Father, all-wise, eternal!
O, guide these wandering, wayworn feet of mine
  Into those pastures vernal!
 
 
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