The Second Place

UNTO my loved ones have I given all:
The tireless service of my willing hands,
The strength of swift feet running to their call,
Each pulse of this fond heart whose love commands
The busy brain unto their use; each grace,
Each gift, the flower and fruit of life. To me
They give, with gracious hearts and tenderly,
The second place.
Such joy as my glad service may dispense
They spend to make some brighter life more blest;
The grief that comes despite my frail defense
They seek to soothe upon a dearer breast.
Love veils his deepest glories from my face;
I dimly dream how fair the light may be
Beyond the shade, when I hold, longingly,
The second place.
And yet ’t is sweet to know that though I make
No soul’s supremest bliss, no life shall lie
Ruined and desolated for my sake,
Nor any heart be broken when I die.
And sweet it is to see my little space
Grow wider hour by hour; and gratefully
I thank the tender fate that granted me
The second place.
Susan Marr Spalding.