And The Wound Is Not For Man To See

Fenton Johnson

Oh, the pangs of love, the cruel love,
That at morning-time is seen to creep
Stealthily into the victim's heart!
No new-born joy it brings to me,
Nor flowers of May, nor sweet song-time,
From an empty world and a vale of naught;
And who, when the evening-time has come,
Soars to other realms, and leaves the soul
To the tears and anguish of the night, —
To the moanings of the sorrow night, —
Pierce on! I am brave and I am strong,
And the wound is not for man to see.

In the solitude I sit and dream
Of a night that passed into the day
When I knew the hour of joy had come
And the June-time was not far away.
She was she, and all the world was naught,
As I read the story of her gentle soul
In the eyes of gray that looked on me.
But the time has changed! Her love is cold,
Like the snows upon the heights
Of icy Switzerland, — the land of frost, —
While this bourne of life is dark and void;
And the wound is not for man to see.

Now at noontime, when the sun is high,
And the earth is clothed in gayety,
Ever flitting on, the butterfly,
With his wings of gaudy hue and stripes,
Sips the honey from the rosebud's lips,
And the lily-cup is his as long
As the song of flattery he sings;
But at twilight, homeward goes this swain,
And the lily drops her fairy head,
While the perfumed rosebud sighs for him
As I sigh for her who is no more;
And the wound is not for man to see.

Oh, the tears that Love exacts from all!
Oh, the tears that fall and ever fall,
Would fill the seas in all the lands,
While the rogue is laughing merrily.
Oh, the hearts that lie along the shore!
Broken, torn, and bleeding handiwork
Of the God that made all perfect things;
They are remnants of the summer hour,
Of the moonlight night, and stars sublime;
They are legion, and are everywhere,
With the legend written in red blood:
"And the wound is not for man to see."

Last updated September 21, 2022