In the twilight gray and shadowy,
Deepening o’er the sunset’s glow,
Softly through the mystic dimness
Flitting shadows come and go.
As my thoughts in listless wandering
With these phantom shadows fly,
Meseems they wear the forms of faces,
Faces loved in days gone by.
One by one I recognize them
As they silent gather near;
Some are loving, childish faces,
Knowing naught of grief or care.
Some are blooming, youthful faces,
Victory confident to win,
Some are from the contest shrinking,
Wearied with the strife and din.
Some are aged, wrinkled faces,
Time life’s sands has nearly run;
Not a leaflet spared of Springtime,
Not a furrow left undone.
Other faces, sweet, sad faces,
Wafted o’er the Lethean sea,
Radiant smile in twilight shadows,
But they came not back to me.
In the twilight, dreamy twilight,
When the sultry day is gone,
Quietly o’er vale and hillside,
Tenderly as blush of dawn,
Come the timid evening breezes,
Sighing through the Summer leaves,
Transient as thought’s pencil-paintings,
Sweet as weft that fancy weaves.
And as shadows in the twilight
Shapeful forms of faces wear,
So these dainty, light-winged zephyrs,
To my hearing, voices are.
Voices whose sad intonations
Seemingly, as flit they past,
Bring to memory hopes long shattered,
Blissful dreams too bright to last.
Voices, merry laughing voices,
Fondly loved in other years,
Mournfully are whispering to me
That their mirth was drowned in tears.
Telling of a fairer fortune
Far away ‘neath tropic skies,
Telling of a broken circle,
Scattered friends and severed ties.
Other kindly, loving voices,
Winning in the long ago,
Tell me now, as then they told me,
“Thou canst live for weal or woe.”
Are these weird and mystic voices
But creations of the brain?
Only in illusive fancy
Must I hear their tones again?
Would some magic power lend me
Aid to stay the witching tone,
Art to pain the beauteous picture
Ere its impress swift has flown.
* * * * * *
While I dreamed the day has faded,
Stars are shining overhead,
Evening winds have ceased to whisper,
Twilight’s shadows all have fled.
Thus, too oft, our life-work seemeth,
And we, when disowned its sway,
Find we are pursuing phantoms,
Shadows in the twilight gray.
(Madge Morris Wagner)
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