after “Ballade of the Unborn Child” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I wrote by hand my lines of verse,
__Just lit by reading light;
I made no sound, no sign or curse,
__And suddenly was fixed with fright.
____Then out in the air on a gossamer wing,
____Came a sigh that was soft as the air of the spring.

I looked beyond, above, and there,
__A cloud where all souls wait;
Those spirits called to earth by love,
__But can’t substantiate.
____Then my heart filled with anguish so dumb and so wild,
____For there in my arms lay my spectral child.

“Oh Angel, tell me who was he,
__What deep within me failed?
Sweet body with face strained and grey,
__Closed eyes without detail?”
____As my eyes laid on him, I cried out with fear,
____No movement I felt as I held him so near.

As tears were dropping for my child,
__The Angel only sighed:
“They have no part or share with us
__They were but passers-by.”
____An unspoken love lasts for those who we mourn,
____For the simplest of souls long ago once still-born.



Beverly Stock is a poet living in St. Louis, Missouri. Look for more of her work on her website: www.BeverlyStockPoetry.com

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7 Responses

  1. Daniel Kemper

    Perhaps a peculiar perspective, this felt influenced by both “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “Ulalume” to me as I read. I enjoyed the stanza structure and the controlled pace of the reveal. Such a hard and sorrowful poem.


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