Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A MYSTERY, by GRACE DENIO LITCHFIELD



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A MYSTERY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Life held in her hands a measure
Last Line: And life held the scale in suspense.
Subject(s): Life; Mystery


LIFE held in her hands a measure,
And swung it lightly and low;
And she said: "I will see if my pleasure
Do not outweigh my woe."
And she gathered all stingless laughter,
All loves that were lasting and sure,
All joys that left memories after,
All wealth that was wingless and pure;
She gathered all sunlight and starlight,
All thornless and fadeless flowers;
She gathered the faint light and far light
Of pangless and perfect hours;
She gathered all glimpses elysian
That never had blasted the soul,
All hopes that had held to fruition,
All talents that won to the goal,
All wisdom that never had saddened,
All truths that never had lied,
All ambitions that never had maddened,
All beauty that satisfied,
And flung them all, all in her measure,
But nothing outbalanced the pain.
Then she said: "I must add yet a treasure,
The kindest and best in my train,"
And reached out and took Death, and laid it
All restful and calm on the scale;
Yet pain, as be ore, still outweighed it,
And sighing she cried: "Could this fail?"
Then she reached up to merciful Heaven,
Took down and flung over Earth's strife,
A little pale hope all unproven—
The hope of a measureless life;
Flung it down with a doubting and wonder,
With question and touch of disdain;
When lo, swift the light scale went under;
Life's woe was outweighed by Life's gain.

Oh, strange, oh, most strange! If the measure
Of all mortal days be but woe
Compared with their acme of pleasure,
Life mused, as she swung the scale low,
Why then should it lessen Earth's sorrow,
Why glorify Death's consequence,
To believe in a timeless to-morrow?—
And Life held the scale in suspense.





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