Time’s Gaze by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Time looked me in the eyes while passing by
The milestone of the year. That piercing gaze
Was both an accusation and reproach.
No speech was needed. In a sorrowing look
More meaning lies than in complaining words,
And silence hurts as keenly as reproof.
Oh, opulent, kind giver of rich hours,
How have I used thy benefits! As babes
Unstring a necklace, laughing at the sound
Of priceless jewels dropping one by one,
So have I laughed while precious moments rolled
Into the hidden corners of the past.
And I have let large opportunities
For high endeavour move unheeded by,
While little joys and cares absorbed my strength.
And yet, dear Time, set to my credit this:
NOT ONE WHITE HOUR HAVE I MADE BLACK WITH HATE,
NOR WISHED ONE LIVING CREATURE AUGHT BUT GOOD.
Be patient with me. Though the sun slants west,
The day has not yet finished, and I feel
Necessity for action and resolve
Bear in upon my consciousness. I know
The earth’s eternal need of earnest souls,
And the great hunger of the world for Love.
I know the goal to high achievement lies
Through the dull pathway of self-conquest first;
And on the stairs of little duties done
We climb to joys that stand thy test. O Time,
Be patient with me, and another day,
Perchance, in passing by, thine eyes may smile.