Archive for January 18th, 2013

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Help That Comes Too Late by Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster

‘Tis a wearisome world, this world of ours,
With its tangles small and great,
Its weeds that smother the spring flowers,
And its hapless strifes with fate;
But the darkest day of its desolate days
Sees the help that comes too late.

Ah! woe for the word that is never said
Till the ear is too deaf to hear,
And woe for the lack to the fainting head
Of the ringing shout of cheer;
Ah! woe for the laggard feet that tread
In the mournful wake of the bier.

What booteth help when the heart is numb?
What booteth a broken spar
Of love thrown out when the lips are dumb,
And life’s bark drifteth far,
Oh! far and fast from the alien past,
Over the moaning bar.

A pitiful thing the gift to-day
That is dross and nothing worth,
Though if it had come but yesterday,
It had brimmed with sweet the earth;
A fading rose in a death-cold hand,
That perished in want and dearth.

Who fain would help in this world of ours,
Where sorrowful steps must fall,
Bring help in time to the waning powers,
Ere the bier is spread with the pall;
Nor send reserves when the flags are furled,
And the dead beyond your call.

For baffling most in this weary world,
With its tangles small and great,
Its lonesome nights and weary days,
And its struggles forlorn with fate,
Is that bitterest grief, too deep for tears,
Of the help that comes too late.

From: Sangster, Margaret E, On the Road Home: Poems, 1894, Harper and Brothers, New York, pp. 26-27.

Date: 1892

By: Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster (1838-1912)