Manuscript c. 1850
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Clifton Waller Barrett Collection

"Only a Year"

One year ago—a ringing boy,
A clear blue eye,
And clustering curls of sunny hair
Too fair to die.

Only a year—no voice, no smile—
No glance of eye,
No clustering curls of golden hair,
Fair, but to die!

One year ago—what loves, what schemes
Far into life.
What joyous hopes—what high resolves,
What generous strife!

The silent picture on the wall
The burial stone,
Of all that beauty, life & joy
Remain alone.

One year, one year—one little year,
And so much gone,
And yet the even flow of life
Moves calmly on.

The grave grows green—the flowers hover fair
Above that head,
No sorrowing tint of leaf or spray
Says he is dead.

No pause or hush of merry birds
That sing above,
Tells us how coldly sleeps below
The form we love.

Where hast thou been this year beloved,
What hast thou seen?
What visions fair, what glorious life
Where thou hast been.

The veil, the veil—so thin, so strong
Twixt us and thee
The mystic veil, when shall it fall
That we may see!

Not dead, not sleeping, not even gone,
But present still.
And waiting for the coming hour
Of God's sweet will.

Lord of the living & the dead
Our Savior dear!
We lay in silence at thy feet,
This sad, sad year!

H. B. Stowe.