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Missing

In the cool, sweet hush of a wooded nook,
Where the May buds sprinkle the green old mound,
And the winds and the birds and the limpid brook,
Murmur their dreams with a drowsy sound;
Who lies so still in the plushy moss,
With his pale cheek pressed on a breezy pillow,
Couched where the light and the shadow cross.
Through the flickering fringe of the willow?
Who lies, alas!
So still, so chill, in the whispering grass?

A soldier clad in the Zouave dress,
A bright-haired man with his lips apart,
One hand thrown up o'er his frank, dead face,
And the other clutching his pulseless heart,
Lies here in the shadows, cool and dim,
His musket swept by a trailing bough,
With a careless grace in each quiet limb,
And a wound on his manly brow
A wound, alas!
Whence the warm blood drips on the quiet grass.

The violets peer from their dusky beds
With a tearful dew in their great pure eyes;
The lilies quiver their shining heads,
Their pale lips full of a sad surprise;
And the lizard darts through the glistening fern -
And the squirrel rustles the branches hoary;
Strange birds fly out, with a cry, to bathe
Their wings in the sunset glory;
While the shadows pass
O'er the quiet face and the dewy grass.

God pity the bride who waits at home.
With her lily cheeks and her violet eyes,
Dreaming the sweet old dreams of love,
While her lover is walking in Paradise;
God strengthen her heart as the days go by,
And the long, drear nights of her vigil follow,
Nor bird, nor moon, nor whispering wind,
May breathe the tale of the hollow;
Alas! Alas!
The secret is safe with the woodland grass.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:29 min read
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    "Missing" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Apr. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/3424/missing>.

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