The Answer (Wilcox)

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The answer
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
From Poems of Optimism (1919)

Up to the gates of gleaming Pearl,
There came the spirit of a girl,
And to the white-robed Guard she said:
‘Dear Angel, am I truly dead?
Just yonder, lying on my bed,
I heard them say it; and they wept.
And after that, methinks I slept.
Then when I woke, I saw your face,
And suddenly was in this place.
It seems a pleasant place to be,
Yet earth was fair enough to me.
What is there here, to do, or see?
Will I see God, dear Angel, say?
And is He very far away?’

The Angel said, ‘You are in truth
What men call dead. That word to youth
Is full of terror; but it means
Only a change of tasks, and scenes.
You have been brought to us because
Of certain ancient karmic laws
Set into motion æons gone.
By us you will be guided on
From plane to plane, and sphere to sphere,
Until your tasks are finished here.
Then back to earth, the home of man,
To work again another span.’

‘But, Angel, when will I see God?’

‘After the final path is trod;
After you no more long, or crave,
To see, or hear, or own, or have
Aught beside - HIM. Then shall His face
Reveal itself to you in space.
And you shall find yourself made one
With that Great Sun, behind the sun.
Child, go thy way inside the gate,
Where many eager loved ones wait.
Death is but larger life begun.’


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.