Stephen Vincent Benet

The Lost Wife

In the daytime, maybe, your heart's not breaking, 
For there's the sun and the sky and working 
And the neighbors to give you a word or hear you, 
But, ah, the long nights when the wind comes shaking 
The cold, black curtain, pulling and jerking, 
And no one there in the bed to be near you. 

And worse than the clods on the coffin falling 
Are the clothes in the closet that no one wears now 
And the things like hairpins you're always finding. 
And you wouldn't mind the ghost of her calling 
As much as knowing that no one cares now 
If the carpet fades when the sun gets blinding. 

I look in the houses, when twilight narrows, 
And in each a man comes back to a woman. 
The thought of that coming has spurs to ride me. 
Death, you have taken the great like sparrows, 
But she was so slight, so small, so human. 
You might have left her to lie beside me.