The Collected Poems of Dora Sigerson Shorter/Goodbye!

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GOODBYE

And so goodbye, my love, my dear, and so goodbye,
E'en thus from my sad heart go hence, depart;
I cast thee out, renounce, and hold no more;
I wreck the cup of joy thou heldest for drinking
To my lips, thinking we'd quaff—be as before;
Yet at my laughter if thou nearest sigh,
And ask no question “Why?”
Believing only that my pleasure lies
To find approval in thy pleased eyes.

Before our time, my dear, my dear, Fate so had planned
Our little race to run beneath the sun.
That we should meet and love and dream, then separate.
Perchance, she thought, though, there would be no parting,
No salt tears smarting; she deemed to mate
My most imperfect self to thine, and gain
A better harvesting of pain:
I weep, but null is Fate's decree—
Such tears fall not so bitterly.

I saw a woman once undo and then peruse
Old letters with hard eyes; through such disguise
I pierced and knew her weeping.
“And such he was,” she said, “whose is the failing
That love is paling? which is the soul that's sleeping?”
His step; and quick the letters put in hiding:
They meet with cold eyes chiding.
If I were such as she.
Oh, death were well for me!


I saw a man's grey eyes fill up, and overfull
Let fall two sparlding tears, as one who fears;
Draw forth a curling braid of woman's hair,
Lay it across his lips with swift caressing.
His love confessing: "My sweet beyond compare,
Whose fault we love to-day and hate to-morrow?"
Her voice: he hides his sorrow,
And meets her bitterly;
And oh, if thou wert he!

I saw two children wondering, hand in hand.
Sit dumb beside their hearth, as if their mirth
Were stricken by some fear past understanding;
Find in their parents' eyes with silent reading
The old degrading truth beyond commanding—
The bond of love that held two hates united,
They plead still unrequited.
They grow and bear me thorn—
Oh, better never born!

Better if thou wert dead, my dear, if thou wert dead;
No woman's moan but mine should hush thy sleeping.
When other eyes should close, their watch forgetting,
Mine vain regretting still their watch was keeping;
When other hearts grew weary by death's gates.
Stole to their loves and hates,
Mine still lived for its laughter
In what might come hereafter.

Goodbye! I would not have thee dead. We grasped at stars
That only God could take: we tried to make
A paradise for keeping
Upon an earth where He had wrecked the garden;
Giving no pardon, baptized us all in weeping.
So pass; goodbye! Some other woman's love.
Oh! not as great as mine, will find above
Some happier fate to choose you
Than mine that did refuse you.