The Photograph by Frank Atha Westbury

Down from the wall of our lonely room,
Half in shadow and half in light,
Silent and motionless through the gloom,
A watcher still gazes all day and night.
Little we thought but a year ago
That our hearts should sigh and our eyes be dim;
That the unseen river should moaning flow,
Dividing the loved from our sight below,
And this—this shadow be all of him.

Little we knew when we saw him place
It there with his living hand
That this should be left with its spirit face,
Linking our souls to the spirit land;
Calling us back from the paths that stray,
Winning the heart from its treasures vain,
Beckoning on to a brighter day,
Whose dawning shall banish earth’s dreams away
On the other side of this stormy main.

Cold are the bands that hung thee there
One day on our cottage wall;
Vanished the smile that he used to wear;
Silent his steps in the lonely hall.
Up on the hill side, amongst the dead,
Sadly we buried him in his prime;
There softly he sleeps in his narrow bed,
Crushed like a reed ‘neath the pale King’s tread—
Dead with the leaves in the autumn time

Shadow of earth! image of one
Who living was like to thee!
Gone like the dew in the morning sun—
Drifted away o’er the silent sea;
Back to that cheek and that dreamy eye,
Back to that brow with a glow of bliss,
Like the crimson flush on the dawning sky,
A light steals down from the world on high—
And we scarce can think he is gone from this.

From: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/197733000

Date: 1879

By: Frank Atha Westbury (1838-1901)

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