James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 31

All Souls’ Day

By Rosamund Marriott Watson (1860–1911)

TO-DAY is theirs—the unforgotten dead—

For strange and sweet communion set apart,

When the strong, living heart

Beats in the dissolute dust, the darkened bed,

Rebuilds the form beloved, the vanished face,

Relight the blown-out lamps o’ the faded eyes,

Touches the clay-bound lips to tenderest speech,

Saying, “Awake—Arise!”

To-day the warm hands of the living reach

To chafe the cold hands of the long-loved dead;

Once more the lonely head

Leans on a living breast, and feels the rain

Of falling tears, and listens yet again

To the dear voice—the voice that never in vain

Could sound the old behest.

Each seeks his own to-day; but, ah, not I—I enter not

That sacred shrine beneath the solemn sky;

I claim no commerce with the unforgot.

My thoughts and prayers must be

Even where mine own fixed lot hereafter lies,

With that great company

For whom no wandering breeze of memory sighs

Through the dim prisons of imperial Death:

They in the black, unfathomed oubliette

For ever and ever set—

They, the poor dead whom none remembered.