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A Vision

From the Grand Forks Daily Herald, September 30, 1914. By Edmund Leavey.

Was I waking, was I dreaming?
In the moonlight’s silver gleaming,
    Was there something treading softly, in my room?
Was it gazing, death-like blazing,
At my eyes which fear was glazing?
    Was it human or a spectre from the tomb?
In my bed I lay, and trembled,
For ’twas nothing it resembled,
    Not a thing that I had ever seen before;
And my heart-strings swiftly tightened,
As I more and more grew frightened,
    For the window fast was locked, and barred the door.
Close it came, and nearer, nearer,
And I saw it plainer, clearer,
    Saw it take a hidden shape like all that’s fair;
And it came and stood before me,
Stood and stooping slightly o’er me,
    Gently whispered to me, cringing, crouching there.
And as it murmured to me,
All my fear and torment flew me,
    And my soul was filled with satan-spawned chagrin.
For it told me, oh, it told me
“Come behold me, come behold me,
    For you I am as once you might have been.”
And I drank in all its beauty—
What was I if true to duty;
    And I begged it answer me if I could win
To the grace I had passed blindly,
For it looked so sad and kindly,
    That I knew it would have pity for my sin.
But its answer chilled and stilled me.
“No, you’ve killed me, killed me, killed me.
    For it’s you you’ve slain, and I you ne’er can be.”
Then it left me in the darkness,
To my soul in all its starkness—
    My forgotten better self—my other me.

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