More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
More poems by Edith Wharton:
Ogrin the Hermit (1909)
Mould and Vase (1901)
A Failure (1880)
The Atlantic Monthly | Feburary 1880
THE PARTING DAY.
by Edith Jones *
Some busy hands have brought to light,
And laid beneath my eye,
The dress I wore that afternoon
You came to say good-by.
About it still there seems to cling
Some fragrance unexpressed,
The ghostly odor of the rose
I wore upon my breast;
And, subtler than all flower-scent,
The sacred garment holds
The memory of that parting day
Close hidden in its folds.
The rose is dead, and you are gone,
But to the dress I wore
The rose's smell, the thought of you,
Are wed forevermore.
That day you came to say good-by
(A month ago! It seems a year!)
How calm I was! I met your eye,
And in my own you saw no tear.
You heard me laugh and talk and jest,
And lightly grieve that you should go;
You saw the rose upon my breast,
But not the breaking heart below.
And when you came and took my hand,
It scarcely fluttered in your hold.
Alas, you did not understand!
For you were blind, and I was cold.
And now you cannot see my tears,
And now you cannot hear my cry.
A month ago? Nay, years and years
Have aged my heart since that good-by.
* In 1885, at the age of twenty-three, Edith Jones married and took her husband's surname, becoming Edith Wharton.
Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; February 1880; The Parting Day; Volume 45, No. 268; page 194.