At Bay

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At Bay
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
From Poems of Experience (1917)

WIFE

Reach out your arms, and hold me close and fast.
Tell me there are no memories of your past
That mar this love of ours, so great, so vast.

HUSBAND

Some truths are cheapened when too oft averred.
Does not the deed speak louder than the word?
(Dear God, that old dream woke again and stirred.)

WIFE

As you love me, you never loved before?
Though oft you say it, say it yet once more.
My heart is jealous of those days of yore.

HUSBAND

Sweet wife, dear comrade, mother of my child,
My life is yours by memory undefiled.
(It stirs again, that passion brief and wild.)

WIFE

You never knew a happier hour than this?
We two alone, our hearts surcharged with bliss,
Nor other kisses, sweet as my own kiss?

HUSBAND

I was a thirsty field, long parched with drouth;
You were the warm rain, blowing from the south.
(But, ah, the crimson madness of her mouth!)

WIFE

You would not, if you could, go down life’s track
For just one little moment and bring back
Some vanished rapture that you miss or lack?

HUSBAND

I am content. You are my life, my all.
(One burning hour, but one, could I recall;
God, how men lie when driven to the wall!)


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1919, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.